What can Dom Capers bring to the Minnesota Vikings coaching staff after he was given a role by head coach Mike Zimmer this week?
Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer made a bold move to improve the fortunes of his defense by recently appointing Dom Capers as a senior defensive assistant.
The highly experienced figure is best known for his time with the Green Bay Packers as their defensive coordinator and helping them secure a Super Bowl ring in 2010.
This represents a shrewd move by Zimmer given the recent promotion of Andre Patterson and Adam Zimmer to become Minnesota’s co-defensive coordinators. Having someone with as much knowledge as Capers will be invaluable during their initial transition to the role.
There is still plenty of talent on the defensive side of the ball to get the Vikings back to the playoffs next season. Despite their struggles in the secondary, the unit still posted some impressive overall figures in 2019.
If his recent interview was any indication, Zimmer is looking to utilize different ideas from Capers and others to take the defense to the next level in 2020.
"“I just wanted another idea-guy, really, someone to come in and have a better way of doing things than we’ve done it in the past, or at least someone able to say, ‘have you thought about doing it this way or that way?’ Then we all sit in a room and figure out how we want to do things."
Capers has been involved with NFL coaching since 1986 following an extensive career in the college ranks. There is no substitute for this type of know-how and it is something that could make a real difference for Minnesota.
A similar move proved fruitful last season when Gary Kubiak came to the Vikings to work with offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski in an advisory role. This transformed the offense and made them a force to be reckoned with before eventually falling to the San Francisco 49ers in the playoffs.
Whether Capers can replicate this feat from his new position remains to be seen and the roster might have a different look to it by the time training camp comes around.
The 1996 NFL Coach of the Year and 1999 NFL Assistant Coach of the Year still has plenty of tools at his disposal in addition to the fresh faces expected to come in during free agency and the NFL Draft.
Minnesota Safety Harrison Smith continues to play at an elite level, Eric Kendricks made the First-Team All-Pro roster after a sensational season, and Danielle Hunter is one of the premier defensive ends in the league.
That is a good spine from which to build a successful defense. If the likes of Stephen Weatherly, Shamar Stephen, and Ifeadi Odenigbo can bring on their respective games, then it will be another massive boost for the Vikings.
Capers is still hungry to contribute at the NFL level judging by a recent interview that also bodes well for his time at U.S Bank Stadium.
"“I was excited about it because I’ve got such respect for Mike and what he’s been able to do here with this defense, not only here, but in Cincinnati and with Dallas. There’s a reason why every place he’s been they’ve had outstanding defenses over the years.This league is such a copycat league that when somebody does something and does it well, you’re going to see other people study that, and there normally aren’t a lot of secrets because we study each other so much. Mike’s always been ahead of the game and does a lot of things that are very innovative.”"
Caper’s arrival in Minnesota can only be a good thing. He has seen it all and can assist the lesser-experienced coaching staff with advice on pretty much any situation.
What happens during the offseason will go a long way to determining their fortunes. If the right tools are put in place, then Capers’ role with the Vikings could be a match made in heaven.