Ben Leber loves ‘incredible’ Vikings potential with Doug Pederson

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Doug Pederson will be interviewing for the open Minnesota Vikings head coaching position.

After several rumors, the Minnesota Vikings will interview former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson to fill their head coaching position, CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reported Last week.

This shouldn’t be a surprise. Vikings ownership wants to do a thorough search, and Pederson is arguably one of the most experienced head coaching candidates currently interviewing for a new job.

He led the Eagles to a 2017 Super Bowl victory much to the chagrin of the Vikings, beating Minnesota 38-7 in the NFC Championship Game that season.

In an attempt to learn from the franchise’s biggest loss of the past decade, the Vikings hired Eagles quarterback coach John DeFilippo as the team’s offensive coordinator the following offseason. DeFilippo attempted to install similar execution option concepts that helped an Eagles offense led by Nick Foles pass Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.

However, Mike Zimmer blew the team’s potential by embracing the new scheme before it came to fruition.

Minnesota could have another chance to embrace a new identity on offense with the Eagles’ offensive architect himself in Pederson — a potential that excite former Vikings linebacker Ben Leber in possibly hiring Pederson.

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Leber praises Pederson

After La Canfora broke that Pederson will be interviewing the Vikings, Leber greeted the news with praise for Pederson.

“I like the Doug Pederson rumors at the Vikes. His offensive expertise and creativity with Cousins, Cook, (Justin Jefferson) would (be) amazing,” Leber tweeted. “Brings a level of experience that others don’t have.”

Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports added that Pederson would make a strong character for the Vikings who have emphasized having a strong communicator and collaborator in their next head coach.

I would expect Doug Pederson to be a strong contender for the #Vikings job. MIN players spoke about the deterioration of the player/coach connection after the departure of Mike Zimmer”, Benjamin tweeted, adding that Pederson could work with retaining Kirk Cousins ​​in his plans to rebuild the team. “Doug was/is loved in the locker room. Additionally, he could work with Kirk Cousins ​​in a “soft rebuild”. “

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Vikings attack thrived with Eagles facilities before Zimmer blew it up

Star Tribune reporter Ben Goessling recently unearthed several stories from Zimmer’s tenure that involved the former Vikings head coach clashing with offensive personnel.

Along with the signing of Kirk Cousins ​​came the hiring of DeFilippo as Spielman tried to reinvent the Vikings offense after a promising 2017 season.

However, Zimmer was angered by both moves.

From Goessling:

An unfortunate hire in 2018 set off a chain reaction of changes. Eagles quarterback coach John DeFilippo, a Spielman and Sparano favorite who was hired after Philadelphia beat the Vikings 38-7 in that championship game, faced Zimmer almost immediately.

The coach quickly grew irritated with DeFilippo’s preference for complex game design, run-pass options and throwing to set up the run, staples of the Eagles offense that had torched the Vikings the previous January. Zimmer stepped up his private criticism of the offense after a Week 4 game in which Cousins ​​threw for 422 yards and three touchdowns in a 38-31 loss to the Rams.

After the Vikings scored 37 points to improve to 4-2-1 in a win over the Jets, sources said Zimmer blasted DeFilippo in a team meeting for not heading the ball enough; he went public with his issues with DeFilippo’s approach after losses in Weeks 11 and 13. The Vikings would not score more than 24 points in six games after the Jets win, and after a Monday night loss in Week 14 at Seattle where they narrowly avoided a shutout, Zimmer fired DeFilippo and replaced him with Kevin Stefanski.

Last year, NFL insider Tyler Dunne has been revealed Zimmer never intended to see DeFillipo’s offensive innovations, blasting RPO games with the offense’s playbook in hand during training camp this preseason.

From Dunn:

The problems started that spring when, with the offense’s play script in hand, Zimmer would call specific plays on defense to blast whatever offense was trying to run, the sources say. There’s a reason Minnesota never pumped RPO into their plan like every other smart team seemed to after Nick Foles (miraculously) upset Tom Brady in the Super Bowl – Zimmer deliberately ruined those games , then reprimanded the offense for being too fanciful.

It’s become a running joke with offensive players.

Cheat code in hand, Zimmer called games to screw them.

When the offense followed orders and stuck to a steady regime of runs, plays and screens in training, Zimmer asked them to execute more back passes during the game. next workout. They did it. They felt Zimmer’s wrath. “What!?” a source remembers him shouting. “We’re a dropback team f—— now?”

Despite Zimmer’s resistance, the Viking attack prospered.

“Adam Thielen became the first player to eclipse 100 yards in each of the first eight games of a season. Cousins ​​became the first quarterback to throw for 4,000 yards, 30 touchdowns and 10 or fewer picks while completing 70% of his passes. Diggs was happy. Diggs averages 10 targets per game. And if not for some putrid kicking, a scary incident involving Everson Griffen before a loss to the Bills (source recalls that the building was locked down for three hours, saying “guys were nervous, worried”) and the Rams’ hemorrhagic 556-yard defense, the Vikings could have undoubtedly come into a matchup on Nov. 18 in Chicago even better than 5 -3-1,” Dunne wrote.

However… Zimmer was furious, with the team’s recent tendency to pass to prepare for the race.

“On that night’s 25-20 loss on national television, the head coach issued a public mandate that the Vikings need to run the ball more,” Dunne added. “Just like that, everyone knew the Vikings were going to run, quickly stopped the run, the offensive coordinator was fired and – in Week 17, against the Bears B team, at home, a playoff spot playoff play – the Vikings drove in 10 points and 164 yards.

“Said one of the many ex-assistants to browse this staff: ‘That tells you everything you need to know about what the players think of Zim. Right there. This game.’ “


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