Loney Named Offensive Coordinator

With uncertainty all around the organization, head coach Mike Tice was able to make one decision for the Minnesota Vikings, promoting offensive line coach Steve Loney to offensive coordinator.

Mike Tice said this week that he wished the Vikings had run the ball more in 2004. Promoting offensive line coach Steve Loney to offensive coordinator may be a step in that direction.

During Loney's three years with the Vikings, they have finished no lower than fourth in the league in total offense, a credit to him and to former offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, who accepted a job as the offensive coordinator in Miami yesterday.

Loney brought the offensive line through a turbulent 2004 season, due to injuries. He ended up starting six different combinations along the line as early-season starters Matt Birk and Mike Rosenthal were lost for much of the season with injuries. Right tackle Rosenthal was placed on injured reserve on Sept. 22, and Pro Bowl center Birk missed essentially five games and was less than 100 percent most of the season.

Loney has seven seasons of offensive coordinator experience between the University of Minnesota and Iowa State.

"We are happy to be able to keep some continuity on our offensive staff by promoting Steve Loney," Tice said in a statement. "He has proven himself during his coaching career and has been key to our success here during the previous three seasons. He has the respect of the players and coaches on staff, and we are excited to get to work for the 2005 season."

Tice said earlier he may have to become more involved with the offense, but for now he will have to concentrate on finding a replacement for Linehan's duties as a quarterbacks coach. The search for that and other possible openings could start Sunday at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. Amazingly, Loney is expected to retain his title as offensive line coach as well.

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