Only hours after his team was held scoreless for 58 minutes in a back-breaking Monday Night Football loss, Vikings offensive coordinator John DeFilippo has been fired, as first reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. DeFilippo lasted just 13 games in his second run as an NFL OC.
Vikings QB coach Kevin Stefanski will take over play-calling duties. News of the change will probably be received warmly by Vikings star wide receiver Adam Thielen, who was caught on a hot mic last night expressing his frustration with the Vikings’ play-calling in the loss.
Minnesota was a fringe top-10 offensive team last year with Case Keenum at the helm. Rookie running back Dalvin Cook’s season ended with a knee injury, but Keenum was steady enough that the team went 13-3 and made the NFC Championship Game. The thinking was that longtime quarterbacks coach DeFilippo and Kirk Cousins made for a perfect fit that could propel the Vikings offense to the next level. Not so much.
Under DeFilippo, the Vikings essentially abandoned their running game, despite having Cook and Latavius Murray. They are currently 25th in yards per attempt, and they trail only the Falcons—a team with no running backs—and the Cardinals—ass incarnate—in total rushing yards. Three individual players have more rushing yards than the Vikings do as a team. DeFilippo’s one-note play-calling drew the ire of head coach Mike Zimmer after recent losses to the Bears and Patriots. As the Vikings’ offense has slipped and the team has sputtered, Zimmer’s quotes have become increasingly exasperated, and last night’s embarrassment was clearly the breaking point.
Minnesota is now 6-6-1, with a half-game lead over the Panthers, Eagles, and the Washington football team. They desperately need to get their shit together, which might start with handing the ball off more than, say, 13 times in an entire game.