If you watched any NFL action this season, you know that the Minnesota Vikings employ the best wide receiver in the league. Justin Jefferson has developed into a superstar talent, and plenty of that can be attributed to his wide receiver coach Keenan McCardell. Jefferson will likely outlast McCardell in Minnesota, however.
A couple of teams have interviewed the Minnesota Vikings wide receivers coach, Keenan McCardell, this offseason, eyeing him as their next offensive coordinator. While that is a role he has yet to undertake, and he is relatively young at 53, his style is clearly well-respected across the league. Jefferson’s development isn’t solely a byproduct of McCardell’s coaching, but he certainly hasn’t done anything to set him back.
You Should Prepare for the Vikings to Lose Keenan McCardell
When the front office looked into draft prospects last season, McCardell was vocal about his desire for a first-round pick not to be used on a wide receiver. A vote of confidence wasn’t necessary for either Jefferson or Adam Thielen, but McCardell was clearly a believer in K.J. Osborn. Although Minnesota’s offense could have used another pass catcher to take pressure off of Jefferson at times, McCardell was excited about the group he had to work with.
Having recently finished an interview with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for their vacant offensive coordinator role, it’s clear that some of the best landing spots are now calling on him. Although Tom Brady will be a free agent, and it’s hardly a given that he returns at all, McCardell working with a legend would be quite the come-up.
Throughout his playing career, McCardell appeared in 209 games and won a Super Bowl. He put up plenty of eye-popping numbers and has 63 touchdowns to his credit. As a former wide receiver, he has a strong understanding of what it takes to be successful in the league, and it’s clear he’s imparted plenty of that wisdom to some of the young Vikings wideouts.
There is no guarantee that any team will take the leap to give McCardell his first offensive coordinator job during this cycle, but it’s becoming increasingly more likely that he won’t be with Minnesota much longer. It’s a good thing that head coach Kevin O’Connell has an offensive background, and offensive coordinator Wes Phillips fared well in year one. However, they could be looking for an addition to their staff in short order, and McCardell doesn’t appear to be an easy guy to replace.
No matter when someone else plucks McCardell from the Vikings coaching staff, you can bet Jefferson and Osborn will miss a guy they have undoubtedly grown close to. For Minnesota, it’s great that pieces of their coaching staff are coveted. There is some proof that they are hiring the right people. It’s not ideal to lose anyone, but the Vikings certainly need to be thinking about backup plans sooner rather than later.
Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.