Gary + Kevin Kubianski: A Marriage Made in Football-Guy Heaven

Photo: Doug Pensinger - Getty Images
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Liger, Man-Bear-Pig, Kubianski…  All of these things are in-fact awesome, but there is one, or should I say two, that are not like the others…

The 2018 Offensive Coordinator Job for the Vikings could have had its own original series on Netflix. After the Vikings were manhandled in the 2017 NFCCG by the Eagles, we seemed to panic a bit, sprinting to hire John DeFilippo as our new OC. Spielman & Co. thought John was the “missing piece” but the blinders were on and in retrospect, it was more of a hope and a prayer than anything else.  

DeFilippo looked like a genius, as the QB Coach of the defending SB Champs, but a lot of people ignored the fact that Doug Pederson called the plays, Frank Reich was his number 2 and then it was DeFilippo…  So was he a glorified coffee runner?  Some might say “maybe”, some may say “no way”, and others might come at you with a very vocal YES along with a quote along the lines of “did you watch the offense when he was calling the plays?”  

As I sarcastically answer back:  “What offense?”  I’ll see myself out….  

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After one last sputtering performance on the road in Seattle…  DeFilippo was fired.   It was clear that Coach Zimmer and DeFilippo weren’t on the same page, when it came to play calling.  Each week it seemed like Zimmer’s message was to run the ball, establish possession, and control the clock…  Game Day would come and we’d see a one-dimensional offense, zero running game, and a QB scrambling for his life.  Obviously it’s easy to point the finger at DeFilippo, because he was in-charge, but a combo of the bad OL, zero running game (because of that OL), and Cousins struggles to produce… eventually something had to give.

It was DeFilippos’s job.  John didn’t take long to land on his feet, though. He was hired as the Offensive Coordinator in Jacksonville, where he reunited with former SB Winner Nick Foles, who is also in his first season with the Jags.

Enter Kevin Stefanski.

When Kevin was hired, lot of people’s reactions were: “Who? Why? What?”

Obviously people had heard of Kevin, but why make a change during the season… especially to another (would be) first-year coordinator?  You have a 1st year QB and a 1st year OC… things take time. Why break that up so quickly?

Ohhhhh, it’s a business and the Vikings couldn’t wait around while employing a Super Bowl caliber roster.

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 Who is Kevin Stefanski?

As a coach

2005 – Philadelphia Eagles

             (Operations Internship)

2005 – Penn

             (Assistant Director of football operations)

2006-2008 – Minnesota Vikings

              (Assistant to the Head Coach)

2009-2013 – Minnesota Vikings

               (Assistant QB Coach)

2014-2015 – Minnesota Vikings

                (TE’s Coach)

2016 – Minnesota Vikings

            (Running Backs Coach)

2017-2018 – Minnesota Vikings

             (QB Coach)

2018 – Minnesota Vikings

            (Interim Offensive Coordinator)

2019-Present – Minnesota Vikings

             (Offensive Coordinator)

Via (

Talk about paying your dues…  Ahead of the Miami game, when Stefanski took over, the message was to run the ball more…  In the last 3 games of the 2018 season, the Vikings ran for 383 yards. However, a bulk of that came against Miami, where the Vikings were over 200 rushing yards. That’s an important detail because the running game under Stefanski wasn’t always clicking. In Week 17 for example, the Vikings struggled to top the 60 yard mark in the must-win game against the Bears (we lost).

Stefanski brings a lot of franchise knowledge, leadership, and experience; but as far as the OC job goes, he’s still green.

Enter Gary Kubiak.

Kubiak will serve as a mentor to Stefanski. He’ll be someone who can help him with some of the in’s and out’s of the business that is calling plays, as well as the brand ambassador for their new “zone running scheme”.  The Kubiak hire did come with a bit of a shock, given Kubiak’s track record as one of the best offensive minds in football, and there was the fact that the Vikings had just made a green Kevin Stefanski the full-time Offensive Coordinator.

Kubiak however, brings with him 27 years of coaching at both the college and pro levels, amassing 4 Super Bowl Rings (what really matters) in that time. The Kubiak addition doesn’t mean the team doesn’t trust Stefanski. It means they’re all-in. Both Spielman and Zimmer know the pressure is on in 2019-20, and they are pulling out all the stops to make sure they don’t disappoint.

Kubianski has been born.

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Brian Heintz | Minnesota Sports Fan

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