Next Vikings head coach might already be on the team’s staff

(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) Klint Kubiak
(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) Klint Kubiak /

Depending on how successful the team’s offense is this season, don’t rule out the possibility of Klint Kubiak becoming the next head coach of the Minnesota Vikings.

Following the 2019 season, Kevin Stefanski decided to leave his role as the offensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings to become the new head coach of the Cleveland Browns.

Before Stefanski landed with the Browns, he was rumored to be the next in line to be the Vikings head coach if Mike Zimmer was let go after the 2019 campaign. However, Minnesota upsetting the New Orleans Saints in the first round of the 2019 playoffs led to Zimmer not only keeping his job with the team, but also earning a multi-year extension before the 2020 season.

So Stefanski went to Cleveland, and in his first year with the team, he led the Browns to their first playoff win since 1994. Meanwhile, the Vikings stuck with Zimmer and missed the postseason with a disappointing 7-9 record in 2020.

Is the next head coach of the Minnesota Vikings already on the team’s staff?

Sunday’s win over the Seattle Seahawks was tremendously huge for Minnesota’s chances this season and for multiple members of the organization, especially Zimmer.

Had the Vikings lost their Week 3 matchup with the Seahawks, the rumblings of Zimmer being closer to being on his way out would’ve only become louder. So if anything, leading his team to a win over Seattle this past weekend likely prevents the Minnesota head coach from becoming a victim of a mid-season firing.

Despite the victory, we could still be watching Zimmer’s last season as the head coach of the Vikings as there are multiple scenarios that could result in Minnesota needing a new head coach in 2022.

One scenario is something that is similar to what eventually resulted in Stefanski leaving for Cleveland.

Like they had with Stefanski, the Vikings currently have a young, first-time play-caller as their offensive coordinator in Klint Kubiak. Three games into the 2021 season, Kubiak is off to a great start as Minnesota’s offense is averaging 29 points and 425 total yards per contest.

Let’s say the Vikings continue to have success on offense this year. This is likely going to lead to the 34-year-old Kubiak getting some interest and potentially some interviews to be a head coach from a few teams around the NFL in 2022.

With Zimmer not getting any younger (65), and Minnesota wanting to continue having success on the offensive side of the ball, would the Vikings consider parting ways with Zimmer in 2022 and replacing him with Kubiak to avoid a similar situation that resulted in Stefanski joining the Browns?

It’s certainly possible, especially with the way Minnesota is performing this season. Zimmer’s defense is not what it used to be and it’s the Vikings’ offense that has been keeping them competitive each week.

Losing Kubiak to another team in 2022 could potentially ruin whatever success Minnesota’s offense seems like they’re probably going to have this year. Is that a risk the Vikings owners are willing to take?

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Obviously, it’s still very early in the current season, and things could still fall apart for Minnesota’s offense. But if the Vikings’ offense continues to average almost 30 points and over 400 total yards for the rest of the year, don’t be surprised if a promotion for Kubiak is in the cards.