6 under-the-radar candidates to be the next Vikings head coach

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) DeMeco Ryans
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) DeMeco Ryans /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by George Walker IV/Tennessean.com/USA TODAY NETWORK) Todd Downing /

Todd Downing

Current Role:

  • Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator

Like Jonathan Gannon, Todd Downing is someone who has already spent time with the Vikings as a member of their coaching staff.

Downing, a native of Eden Prarie, Minnesota, interned with the Vikings way back in 2001, and it eventually led to him becoming an offensive quality control coach for the team in 2005 at the age of 25.

Downing left Minnesota after the 2005 season and floated around the NFL with various teams before winding up back with the Vikings in 2018 as their tight ends coach. After taking the same position with the Tennessee Titans in 2019, Downing was promoted to offensive coordinator for the Titans prior to the start of the 2021 season.

With the Minnesota native calling plays, Tennessee’s offense finished the 2021 regular season ranked 15th in scoring, fifth in rushing yards per game, 24th in passing yards per game, eighth in third-down conversion rate, and fifth in red-zone conversion rate.

The Titans’ rushing offense ranking in the top five is even more impressive when one is reminded that the team didn’t have All-Pro running back Derrick Henry on the field for more than half of the season.

The Vikings’ rushing attack took a pretty big step back during the 2021 campaign (29th in expected points by the rushing offense), and Downing is someone that could potentially come in and make their backfield one of the most dangerous in the league again.