The unbalance of the offense has made things difficult for the Minnesota Vikings this season and their offensive coordinator is to blame.
For the fifth time season, the Minnesota Vikings ended their game against the New England Patriots on Sunday with less than 20 rushing attempts. None of these five instances has resulted in a win for the Vikings in 2018.
Minnesota’s lack of balance on offense has been a thorn in their side all season long and it now has them fighting for their playoff lives over the next four weeks.
There is really only one person to blame for the Vikings switching to a pass-heavy scheme in 2018 and that is first-year offensive coordinator John DeFilippo.
Back when DeFilippo was hired back in February, the belief by some was that he would run Minnesota’s offense similar to how they did things in 2017. But this has been far from the case this season.
Now, the Vikings do have a different quarterback in Kirk Cousins than they did last year when Case Keenum was out starting under center for most of the season. Cousins has a stronger and more accurate arm than Keenum and DeFilippo has seemed to shift the focus around Minnesota’s passing game this year because of this.
But his decision to turn the Vikings into a pass-first offense has backfired on the offensive coordinator this year. Opposing teams don’t respect Minnesota’s rushing attack and they rarely get fooled by any of the Vikings’ play-action pass plays.
Five of Minnesota’s six victories this season have come against teams who rank among the 10 worst in defending the pass this year. If not for this, the Vikings would likely have an even lower win total at this point right now.
Even with Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer complaining in public on numerous occasions about the lack of his team’s rushing attempts, DeFilippo has still leaned heavy on the pass plays.
So did Minnesota make a mistake in hiring DeFilippo?
After 12 games, the argument can certainly be made. Despite having a more talented starting quarterback this season, the Vikings’ offense has definitely taken a step in the wrong direction.
Will Minnesota show their current offensive coordinator the door before their Week 14 matchup the Seattle Seahawks next Monday? It still seems unlikely, but the Vikings need to think long and hard after their current season is over about whether or not they should bring DeFilippo back for 2019.
Based on his performance so far this year, Minnesota may be better off finding someone different to run their offense next season.
A few years ago, some might have argued that the Vikings still need another offseason in DeFilippo’s offense for it to become successful.
But with what Sean McVay has done with the Los Angeles Rams and what Matt Nagy has done with the Chicago Bears in such short amounts of time, finding someone to quickly fix an offense doesn’t seem as hard in the NFL anymore as it once used to be.
With all of the innovative and young football minds out there today, Minnesota hiring someone new to improve their offense in a short amount of time doesn’t seem too crazy of a thought to have.
DeFilippo was given the tools to succeed with the Vikings this year and he has failed. He is reportedly in consideration for multiple head coaching openings around the NFL and it seems safe to say that very few Minnesota fans would be sad if he decided to take one of those jobs.