Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards will be the head coach of the West team in the East-West Shrine Game on Jan. 21 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla.
The NFL partnered with the East-West Shrine game this year to supply the coaching staffs from current league assistant coaches whose teams didn’t advance to the playoffs.
Edwards’ involvement in the week of practice and in the game could help on a couple of fronts. For him, it would give the long-time defensive coordinator and defensive position coach an opportunity to broaden his coaching skills by leading an entire coaching staff and team. For the Vikings, it will give them more first-hand knowledge of the NFL prospects on the West team. When Leslie Frazier’s former staff with the Vikings coached in the Senior Bowl, it helped lead them to draft now-Pro Bowl safety Harrison Smith.
“The East-West Shrine Game is not only a showcase for tremendous athletes who have a dream of playing at the next level, it is also a venue for upwardly mobile coaches in the NFL,” said NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent in a release announcing the NFL’s increased involvement in the game. “This is an opportunity to further develop, evaluate and showcase our assistant coaches who may be our next generation of head coaches.”
Edwards will be coaching against Arizona Cardinals assistant Brentson Buckner, who is leading the East team.
Coaching prospects for the game were nominated by different teams last week and the nominations were reviewed by the NFL Football Operations staff, East-West Shrine Game leadership and two members of the NFL’s General Managers Advisory Committee. Edwards will choose his assistants from other coaches nominated by NFL clubs to fill out a 12-person staff.
More than 70 players from last year’s East-West Shrine Game made NFL rosters, and on average more than 265 East-West Shrine Game alumni are on NFL rosters each year, according to the college all-star game’s statistics. Since the game’s inception, 72 former players have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and more than 200 have been named to the College Football Hall of Fame.
The 92nd annual East-West Shrine Game will kick off at 2 p.m. Central on Jan. 21 and be televised live on NFL Network.null