Former Vikings assistant deserving of Coach of the Year consideration

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) Baker Mayfield and Kevin Stefanski
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) Baker Mayfield and Kevin Stefanski /

Kevin Stefanski is excelling in his first season away from the Minnesota Vikings.

Less than a month after helping the Minnesota Vikings make it to the divisional round of the playoffs, Kevin Stefanski decided to take the leap and become the new head coach of the Cleveland Browns.

Cleveland has become a place where promising assistants around the NFL go to fail. Before the start of the current season, the Browns finished with a winning record just twice since 1999.

This past weekend, however, Stefanski helped lead Cleveland to a win and ensure that the team won’t finish with a losing record for the first time since 2007. The Browns are quietly 8-3 and the former Vikings offensive coordinator is a big reason why.

Former Minnesota Vikings assistant has turned the Cleveland Browns around

Sure, there are plenty of head coaches around the NFL who deserve to be named this season’s Coach of the Year including Mike Tomlin, Andy Reid, Sean McDermott, and Brian Flores. But none of these guys have had to deal with the curse that comes with being the head coach of the Browns in the 21st century like Stefanski has.

Cleveland had the talent to be a playoff team in 2019, they just didn’t have the right guy leading the team in Freddie Kitchens. Miraculously, the Browns quickly realized this and pursued Stefanski instead this past offseason.

The hiring of the former longtime Minnesota assistant coach is proving to be one of the best decisions Cleveland has made in the last 20 years.

Stefanski has the Browns succeeding by utilizing some of the things he learned during his time with the Vikings. Cleveland has already achieved eight wins this season thanks to solid defense and a strong ground attack on offense that currently leads the NFL in rushing.

Stefanski has also taken the pressure off of Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield’s shoulders this year. After tossing a total of 21 interceptions last season, Mayfield has only thrown seven picks in his first 11 games this year.

Unlike past head coaches in Cleveland, Stefanski is putting the guys on his roster in a position to succeed. And so far, his methods are working.

With five games left in the season, the former Minnesota offensive coordinator has an incredible opportunity to lead the Browns to the playoffs for the first time since 2002. If he’s able to help them accomplish this, then Cleveland will have a chance to get their first postseason win since 1994.

Stefanski has already experienced a ton of success during his short time with the Browns. But helping Cleveland get into the playoffs could potentially result in his first season with the franchise ending with him being named the NFL Coach of the Year.