Vikings WR Coach Keenan McCardell Wants To Call Plays; Hopes for OC Opportunity

Minnesota Vikings vs. Cincinnati Bengals December 16, 2023 Paycor Stadium, Cincinnati, OH Credit: Photo Courtesy of the Minnesota Vikings

Keenan McCardell has almost seen it all, playing in the NFL for 17 seasons and coaching wide receivers at both the pro and college levels since 2010. His coaching career began as a wide receivers coach in Washington 14 years ago.

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In 2014, McCardell stuck around the DC area but took his talents to the Big Ten when he accepted the WR coach job at Maryland in 2014. There, he coached NFL star and former Minnesota Vikings WR, Stefon Diggs.

After that, he set his compass due SE and landed back in Jacksonville, where he spent the best years of his playing career. From 2017 to 2020, he was the Jaguars WR coach where he helped developed DJ Chark Jr. and Dede Westbrook.

Then, in 2021, Rick Spielman and Mike Zimmer convinced McCardell to switch him winter home from Florida to Minnesota, where he’s been coaching up Justin Jefferson, KJ Osborn and Jordan Addison ever since.

Keenan McCardell Wants To Call Plays as Offensive Coordinator

Last offseason it was almost certain McCardell would be leaving Minnesota as he was interviewed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New England Patriots for their vacant offensive coordinator jobs. But Tampa Bay hired Dave Canales and New England chose Bill O’Brien, landing McCardell back to Minnesota.

Now, Darren Wolfson (SKOR North, KSTP) says that McCardell is hoping, yet again, for his chance to be an offensive coordinator. Not only that, but to also call plays. McCardell wanting to call plays, makes sense, especially if one day, he wants to be a head coach.

“Keenan is ready, in his mind, his representation’s mind, to call plays. He’s ready to make that step up that he’s on a path to one day, maybe in the next 5-ish years, to being a head coach. That is the ultimate goal. So, the next logical step is, ‘Hey I need to ascend to offensive coordinator. I need to call plays’.”

Darren Wolfson – SKOR North (Mackey & Judd Show)

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Kevin O’Connell Loves McCardell

McCardell is well liked in the Vikings organization. Jefferson has expressed how much of an impact he’s made on him, both on and off the field. And it also sounds like head coach Kevin O’Connell desperately wants to keep him around.

“So let’s see where some of these defensive-minded [head coaching] candidates land in some spots; what direction they could potentially go. But certainly keep an eye on that. There are no interviews that have taken place, to date, but let’s just see some of these head coaching spots that get filled, and if there’s a logical connection with Keenan, that Keenan could elevate and move on to become an offensive coordinator. But yeah, the Vikings want him back. Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison… go up and down the list. They value him so greatly there in Eagan.”

Darren Wolfson – SKOR North (Mackey & Judd Show)

Could Minnesota Vikings Promote Keenan McCardell?

If the Minnesota Vikings do not want to lose McCardell, what are their options? Well, unless they are going to let him call plays on offense — which isn’t going to happen as long as Kevin O’Connell is head coach — all they can do is hope he doesn’t get that call from someone else.

Plus, what would that mean for current OC, Wes Phillips? Would KOC boot him out, in order to keep Keenan McCardell? Maybe… but that conversation doesn’t matter if Keenan is dead-set on calling plays.

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If McCardell gets an offer to become an offensive coordinator somewhere, I’d imagine he will be in a new home next football season. Obviously there is still so much that has yet to unfold this offseason but this is certainly a storyline worth monitoring.

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