E Point Perfect

2 Vikings Coaching Candidates from 2022 Fired in 2023


Aug 18, 2022; Costa Mesa, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore during joint practice against the Los Angeles Chargers at Jack Hammett Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

About one year ago, the Minnesota Vikings extensively searched for a new head coach after terminating Mike Zimmer following back-to-back mediocre seasons.

The franchise almost settled on Jim Harbaugh from the University of Michigan as one source, Chris Balas, tweeted on February 1st, 2022, “Jim Harbaugh plans to sign with the Minnesota Vikings.”

2 Vikings Coaching
Nov 13, 2021; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh walks on the field during a warm-up prior to the game against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports.

But HarbaughMania didn’t quite materialize, the man returned to Ann Arbor, and the Vikings hired Kevin O’Connell from the Super Bowl-winning Los Angeles Rams days later. For the Vikings ownership’s troubles, O’Connell fired up the third 13-win season in Vikings history during his first year as head coach and an NFC North crown, something not accomplished by Minnesota in five years.

2 Vikings Coaching Candidates from 2022 Fired in 2023

Fast forward 12 months, and two coaching candidates entertained by the Vikings last year were fired by their current team after the 2022 regular season.

Kellen Moore

Sep 22, 2019; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore on the field prior to the game against the Miami Dolphins at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports.

NFL Network‘s Tom Pelissero tweeted Sunday, “The Cowboys and offensive coordinator Kellen Moore have mutually agreed to part ways, per sources. Moore is a bright young offensive mind and will have options. But Dallas felt change was needed after a disappointing finish, and now is looking for a new OC.”

The Cowboys ranked 10th in the NFL via offensive EPA/Play in 2022 and fourth in points scored. But it was evidently time to move on, and Moore is expected to be hired quickly elsewhere. He’s already in the mix to interview for the Los Angeles Chargers open offensive coordinator position, according to Ian Rapoport.

Moore easily could’ve become the Vikings head coach, as his stock was sky-high at this time last year.

Byron Leftwich

Jan 1, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense coordinator Byron Leftwich against the Carolina Panthers during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports.

Tampa Bay, too, parted ways with its offensive coordinator, Byron Leftwich. The Buccaneers offense wasn’t quite the same in 2022, and every win seemed to follow a familiar formula — struggle throughout most of three quarters but turn on the jets in the final period.

Often, a team led by Tom Brady can get away with that, but such a habit doesn’t usually result in a Super Bowl push. And in the postseason tournament, the Buccaneers were bounced in the Wildcard Round by Moore’s Cowboys.

Tampa Bay’s offense ranked 20th in EPA/Play and 25th in points scored. It flat-out wasn’t Leftwich’s year in 2022. He held the job for four years and will now look elsewhere for another OC gig.

Leftwich was one of the “all the craze” candidates, at least by fans, about 12.5 months ago.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.


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