Vikings Hire the Guy Who Devastated Them 20 Years Ago

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Most Minnesota Vikings’ coaching hires have flown under the radar this offseason, but not this one. Not by a longshot.

Vikings Hire the Guy Who Devastated Them 20 Years Ago

Remember when the Vikings were nudged from playoff contention in the 2003 regular season at the Arizona Cardinals? The moment is as memorable as it is terrible. Well, the guy who tossed the Cardinals’ game-winning touchdown pass is now Minnesota’s quarterbacks coach — Josh McCown.

Who Devastated
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings main social media account tweeted Tuesday, “The Vikings have named Josh McCown as quarterbacks coach and Chris O’Hara as pass game specialist.”

McCown coached the Carolina Panthers’ quarterbacks in 2023 before that staff disbanded following the failed Frank Reich experiment. Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell served as a quarterbacks coach in 2015 when McCown played for the Browns, so that’s where the preexisting connection can be found.

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports.

ESPN’s Jordan Reid also tweeted a fascinating factoid on Tuesday after the McCown hire, “In 2019, Josh McCown was an assistant Coach at Myers Park High School in Charlotte. The QB there at the time? Drake Maye.”

Maye is expected to be drafted in the Top 3 picks at the end of April, and if Minnesota is feeling funky, it could trade up the board to acquire his services. Employing one of his old coaches can’t hurt.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports.

Here’s McCown’s NFL resume:

  • Arizona Cardinals (2002–2005)
  • Detroit Lions (2006)
  • Oakland Raiders (2007)
  • Miami Dolphins (2008)
  • Carolina Panthers (2008–2009)
  • San Francisco 49ers (2011)
  • Chicago Bears (2011–2013)
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2014)
  • Cleveland Browns (2015–2016)
  • New York Jets (2017–2018)
  • Philadelphia Eagles (2019–2020)
  • Houston Texans (2020)

And his blossoming coaching resume:

Carolina Panthers (2023)
Quarterbacks Coach

Minnesota Vikings (2024-present)
Quarterbacks Coach

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McCown played 102 games in the NFL, starting 76 in a 17-year career. Teams led by McCown were 23-53 (.302) on his watch while he tallied a 98-touchdown to 82-interception split. He was selected in the 3rd Round of the 2002 NFL Draft by the aforementioned Cardinals the day after the Vikings drafted Bryant McKinnie from the University of Miami.

Who plays quarterback in McCown’s first year with the Vikings is a total mystery. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah was asked about Kirk Cousins’ future on Tuesday at the NFL Combine, and he replied, “Had a great conversation with him a few days ago. At the end of the day, it’s we have our interests, he has his, and we get to the table and see if we can figure out a creative solution and how to meet in the middle. What we do know is we have a really great quarterback, a great leader, and somebody that we think we can win the ultimate prize with, and so that’s ultimately what I focus on, and that’s where we’re at right now.”

If Cousins does not return, Minnesota is expected to explore the early rounds of April’s draft for a replacement. Caleb Williams (USC), Drake Maye (North Carolina), Jayden Daniels (LSU), Michael Penix Jr. (Washington), J.J. McCarthy (Michigan), and Bo Nix (Oregon) are options.

McCown will turn 45 on Independence Day.

Here’s the not-so-friendly memory from 20 years ago:

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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