The Vikings on Tuesday fired first-year offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, one day after Minnesota again struggled to move the ball in a 21-7 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, its third defeat in four games.
Much was expected of the Vikings' offense this season after quarterback Kirk Cousins joined the team in free agency to go along with standout wide receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. DeFilippo, 40, also was brought in this season after helping lead the Philadelphia Eagles to a Super Bowl title last season as their quarterbacks coach and was seen as a future NFL head coaching candidate. But Minnesota has gone five straight games without topping 24 points and scored only 17 combined points in its past two games, losses to the Patriots and Seahawks.
Monday night was the nadir. The Vikings didn’t run a play in Seattle territory until 4 minutes 16 seconds remained in the third quarter and, trailing just 6-0, failed to score despite having first and goal from the Seahawks 4 with 9:06 left in the fourth quarter. Cousins passed for just 208 yards, with much of that total coming late in the game as Minnesota played catch-up. Its garbage-time touchdown with less than two minutes remaining kept the Vikings from getting shut out for the first time since November 2007.
Minnesota’s problems stem mainly from a subpar offensive line and its lack of a running game; the Vikings are averaging 85.4 rushing yards per game, which ranks 30th in the league.
Minnesota elevated longtime assistant Kevin Stefanski, previously the team’s quarterbacks coach, to interim offensive coordinator; he will handle play-calling duties. The New York Giants had pursued Stefanski to be their offensive coordinator under new Coach Pat Shurmur — Minnesota’s offensive coordinator during last season’s run to the NFC title game — but Vikings Coach Mike Zimmer blocked the move.
Despite their 6-6-1 record, the Vikings currently sit as the No. 6 seed in the NFC playoff picture and will make the postseason with wins in their last three games, starting Sunday at home against the Dolphins.
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