The Minnesota Vikings will have a new offensive line coach.
Head coach Mike Zimmer said on Tuesday that he isn’t renewing the contract for line coach Jeff Davidson because Zimmer “didn’t want to” renew it.
Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was sacked 44 times, tied for sixth-most during the 2015 NFL regular season, and Adrian Peterson was dropped for a league-high 47 carries that lost yardage, despite leading the league with 1,485 yards rushing. The Vikings were without starting center John Sullivan and starting right tackle Phil Loadholt, who were each lost to injury before the regular season started.
Zimmer was unsure of the status of those two injured offensive lineman for the offseason and next year.
“I don’t know. I haven’t seen them in six, seven months now. We’ll just have to see how all that goes. I have no idea,” Zimmer said. “Right now, I think guys, we need to compete at that position. I think guys need to come in and compete, whether it’s Sullivan or Loadholt or (Matt) Kalil, whoever it is. They need to compete. That’s really what I want this football team to do.”
Zimmer characterized the play of the offensive line as “sporadic” in 2015.
“We’ve got to do better,” he said.
Former Miami Dolphins interim head coach Dan Campbell has reportedly been contacted by the Vikings, San Diego Chargers and Dallas Cowboys. He has coached tight ends in the past.
When Zimmer was asked about the possibility of Campbell replacing Davidson, Zimmer said “everybody’s a possibility.”
Campbell played tight end for the Dallas Cowboys from 2003-05 under Bill Parcells when Zimmer was the defensive coordinator there.
The Vikings will interview New York Giants offensive line coach Pat Flaherty, according to FOX Sports. Flaherty has been with the Giants for 12 seasons, but head coach Tom Coughlin resigned after the season, leaving the rest of the coaching staff in flux. Flaherty coached tight ends for the Washington Redskins in 2000, the final year that Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner was their head coach, and Flaherty also coached tight ends for three seasons with the Chicago Bears.
Former NFL offensive lineman Hank Fraley, who played in the NFL for 11 seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, Cleveland Browns and St. Louis Rams, is the assistant offensive line coach for the Vikings. He coached offensive line for the University of San Diego and San Jose State before joining the Vikings in 2014.
Zimmer said he “anticipates” having Norv Turner back as the offensive coordinator, and Zimmer hasn’t been contacted about Turner or defensive coordinator George Edwards interviewing as head coaching candidates elsewhere.
The Vikings also will have to have a few offseason surgeries. Nose tackle Linval Joseph has to have a toe operated on, receiver Adam Thielen will have his shoulder repaired, and Everson Griffen may have surgery, too. Tight end Rhett Ellison already had surgery to repair his patellar tendon, which is expected to be a six-month recovery. Ellison is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent.
Zimmer also said he would have a knee operated on.
“It’s a tough season; I got hurt. I don’t know,” he said when asked what happened to him. “Old age, stress.”