Vikings sign G Josh Kline

The Minnesota Vikings have agreed to terms with G Josh Kline, the team announced on Wednesday.

According to ESPN.COM’s Courtney Cronin, it’s a three-year deal worth $15.75 million.

Kline joins Minnesota for his seventh NFL season in 2019. The Mason, Ohio, native originally signed with the New England Patriots as a rookie free agent on May 3, 2013, and most recently spent the 2016-2018 seasons with the Tennessee Titans.

Kline has started 64 of his 79 career regular season game appearances, including an active streak of 46 consecutive starts at right guard, the longest active streak in the NFL among all guards.

Prior to being claimed off waivers by Tennessee on September 8, 2016, Kline spent three seasons with New England from 2013-15, appearing in 33 regular season games with 18 starts. The Kent State alum has also appeared in six career playoff games, starting five, and was a member of the New England team that won Super Bowl XLIX after the 2014 season.

 

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Vikings re-sign K Dan Bailey

The Vikings and Dan Bailey have a agreed to terms on a new contract, the team announced today.

According to the NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, it’s a one-year, $1 million deal, and $2 million max with incentives.

Bailey originally signed with the club on September 18, 2018.

Bailey finished his first season in Minnesota making 21-of-28 field goal attempts and 30-of-31 point after attempts.

The ninth-year kicker out of Oklahoma State is the fifth-most accurate kicker in NFL history, converting 86.6 percent of his career field goals (207/239). The former Dallas Cowboy has appeared in 122 career games and has connected on 11 career game-winning field goals.

Eagles, Andrew Sendejo agree on one-year deal

The Philadelphia Eagles and S Andrew Sendejo have agreed to terms on a one-year contract.

A nine-year NFL veteran, Sendejo has played in 99 career games (including playoffs) and has totaled 432 tackles, seven interceptions and 31 passes defensed.

Sendejo entered the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys in 2010 and joined the Minnesota Vikings in 2011. He went on to play eight seasons in Minnesota and had a breakout season in 2013. That year, Sendejo started 10 games at safety and set a career high in tackles (104), while also adding 13 tackles on special teams.

After being named the Vikings Special Teams Player of the Year in 2014, Sendejo earned a full-time starting role in 2015, opening 13 games at safety and registering 100 tackles, one interception and six passes defensed. Dating back to 2015, Sendejo has started every game in which he has played and has recorded 308 tackles, six interceptions, 26 passes defensed and three fumble recoveries.

Vikings re-sign RB Ameer Abdullah

The Minnesota Vikings have re-signed RB Ameer Abdullah, the team announced today.  The Homewood, Alabama, native was originally drafted by Detroit in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft (54th overall) before being claimed via waivers by the Vikings in Week 10 of the 2018 NFL season.

In 2018, Abdullah served as Minnesota’s primary kick returner for the last seven games of the regular season, finishing with 258 yards on 10 kick returns with a long of 33 yards.

Throughout his career, Abdullah has played in 42 career games with 22 starts, notching six rushing and three receiving touchdowns. The Nebraska graduate finished fifth in the NFL and second among rookies in 2015 with 1,857 all-purpose yards (597 rushing, 183 receiving and 1,077 kickoff) in his debut season.

Kubiak on Cousins: ‘He’s a hell of a player’

Vikings assistant head coach and offensive advisor Gary Kubiak knows a lot of about winning quarterback play.  First, as a player, he was a backup to the great John Elway in Denver. Next, he was a quarterback coach with the 49ers and helped Steve Young win a Super Bow in 1994. Furthermore, he was Elway’s OC and QB coach in Denver and helped the Broncos win back-to-back Super Bowl titles(1997-98). Finally, as the head coach of the Broncos, he helped the great Peyton Manning and Denver win Super Bowl 50.

Now, he is trying to bring that same magic to Minnesota with Kirk Cousins. While Cousins was unable to lead the Vikings to the playoffs last season, Kubiak believes Cousins is a good player, which is why he thinks he can help Cousins in 2019.

“I think it helps you look through the eyes of a quarterback,” Kubiak said today. “I put myself in that pocket when he’s back there. What would I think here, what would I think about that call or that situation. I know a lot about Kirk, I studied him coming out, obviously got to know him through the draft process, and then I got to know him even better through Mike [Shanahan] and Kyle [Shanahan] through the years. I know he’s driven to succeed, he’s a hell of a player, and we got to do everything we can to help him out. I look forward to that relationship. Hopefully being in there a little bit, what little bit John [Elway] let me plan my career, hopefully, I can recall some of those things.”

Adding Kubiak to the staff can definitely help Cousins. Having a guy around with his experience is very valuable for Cousins and the team. The pressure is on Cousins to live up to that three-year, $84 million contract, and maybe Kubiak can be the guy that can help him breakthrough in 2019.

Treadwell on Cousins, Vikings: ‘This is the first year; we were a little rusty’

Minnesota’s $84 million man Kirk Cousins was supposed to come in right away and take the Vikings to the next level, and that next level was the Super Bowl as Minnesota went to the NFC title game with Case Keenum as the quarterback in 2017.

Unfortunately for Minnesota, they would miss the playoffs in 2018, which was a huge disappointment considering the success they had last season.

In the NFL, the QB receives too much credit and too much blame, but it comes with the territory, and Cousins received a lot of the blame, but according to Vikings WR Laquon Treadwell, it’s not just all on Cousins.

“He’s a baller,” Treadwell told TMZ Sports. “This is the first year; we were a little rusty, but we gonna bounce back. We were learning each other, chemistry.”

This is only year one for Cousins in Minnesota, so it’s way too early to say the signing was a bad move. However, Cousins has to play better against better teams in the league. He was 1-6 against teams above .500 in 2018, and he is 5-25 against teams with winning records and is 0-1 in the playoffs.

Let’s see if that number changes in 2019.

 

Vikings add Gary Kubiak, two others to coaching staff

The Minnesota Vikings have named Gary Kubiak assistant head coach/offensive advisor, Brian Pariani tight ends coach and Klint Kubiak quarterbacks coach.

Gary Kubiak brings 24 years of NFL coaching experience, including 10 as a head coach, to the Vikings staff. Prior to joining the Vikings, he spent the last two seasons as senior personnel advisor for the Denver Broncos. Kubiak was with the Broncos franchise for 24 overall seasons, including nine seasons as a quarterback (1983-91), 11 seasons as offensive coordinator (1995-2005) two seasons as the Broncos’ head coach (2015-16) and the past two seasons as a senior personnel advisor. Kubiak’s clubs have appeared in nine conference championship games and seven Super Bowls as a player or coach, and he has been part of four World Championship staffs during his career. Before leading Denver to a win in Super Bowl 50 in his initial season as the Broncos head coach in 2015, he served as offensive coordinator for the back-to-back Super Bowl-champion Broncos in 1997-98 and as quarterbacks coach for the 49ers’ Super Bowl championship team in 1994.

The Broncos’ 24-10 win against the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 made Kubiak just the fourth head coach in league annals to win a World Championship in his first year as head coach of a team. After appearing in three Super Bowls for Denver in the late 1980s, Kubiak also became the first individual to win a Super Bowl as head coach of a team he played for.

In his 10 seasons as a head coach—eight with Houston (2006-13) and two with Denver (2015- 16)—Kubiak compiled an 82-75 (.522) regular-season record and a 5-2 (.714) postseason mark. His 319 combined wins as an NFL player (81), assistant coach (151) and head coach (87) ranked second among active head coaches when he retired from coaching following the 2016 season. Selected by the Broncos in the eighth round (197th overall) of the 1983 NFL Draft from Texas A&M, Kubiak appeared in 119 regular-season games during his nine-year playing career in Denver. He finished his Broncos career completing 173 of 298 passes (58.1%) for 1,920 yards with 14 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. Kubiak led the Broncos to a 3-2 record in five career starts filling in for quarterback John Elway and was part of five division titles, four conference championship appearances and three Super Bowl berths from 1983-91.

Brian Pariani joins the Vikings coaching staff with over 20 years of experience coaching tight ends. From 1994-2016, Pariani worked every season alongside Gary Kubiak, for the exception of the 2005 season, when Pariani worked at Syracuse University. Pariani previously coached the tight ends position with Denver from 1995-2004 and again from 2015-16. He also spent time as the tight ends coach for the Houston Texans (2006-13) and for one season with the Baltimore Ravens in 2014.

Pariani entered the NFL as a scouting assistant with San Francisco in 1990 and spent four additional seasons (1991-94) with the 49ers as an offensive assistant, where he earned his first career Super Bowl in 1994. A political science major at UCLA, Pariani began his coaching career as a graduate assistant for his alma mater in 1989 under Head Coach Terry Donahue.

Klint Kubiak enters his sixth season in the NFL after three years with the Denver Broncos as the offensive assistant/quarterbacks coach from 2016-18. Kubiak is returning to the Vikings coaching staff in 2019 having previously worked two seasons as the quality control/assistant wide receivers coach for Minnesota from 2013-14. Prior to his time with the Broncos, Kubiak instructed wide receivers at the University of Kansas in 2015.

Kubiak started his coaching career at Texas A&M University as a quality control/offense coach from 2010-11 and as a graduate assistant/inside receivers coach in 2012. During his three years with the Aggies, Kubiak earned his master’s degree in human resource development. A four-year letter winner at Colorado State, Kubiak played for the Rams from 2005-09. He was named a team captain as a senior and was invited to play in the East-West Shrine Game.

Vikings OC Stefanski talks return to team, interviewing for Cleveland job, and more

On Wednesday, the Vikings announced that Kevin Stefanski will be the team’s permanent offensive coordinator. The 36-year-old Stefanski was named the interim offensive coordinator back in December when the team dismissed former OC John DeFilippo.

Stefanski, the longest-tenured coach on the Vikings staff, completed his 13th season with the club in 2018 and has coached quarterbacks, tight ends and running backs in his dozen-plus seasons with the team. Stefanski served as the quarterbacks coach in 2017 and most of 2018.

Today, Stefanski and Mike Zimmer addressed the media.

Here is what they had to say:

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer:

“After going through the process of talking to different people and sitting through some other interviews and things like that and talking to a lot of people, I’ve decided that we are going to hire Kevin Stefanski as the offensive coordinator. He is a bright, young coach. Very detailed. He has already given me a list of everything that we have to go over from now until training camp. He’s been good. He’s been here for a long time. He’s a great addition to our staff and we are excited to have him so I will introduce Kevin.”

Vikings Offensive Coordinator Kevin Stefanski:

“Exciting time for me and my family. Like Coach [Mike] Zimmer mentioned, I’ve been here a long time. Had three kids born here so we are entrenched in the community here. I am excited for the opportunity. I go back to our ownership group with the Wilf family, our entire ownership group, Mark [Wilf] and Zygi [Wilf] having been so supportive of me over the years. I appreciate them. This is a family as they say and it’s the truth. I am very appreciative of that. Then with Coach Zimmer and Rick [Spielman], I appreciate them giving me this opportunity and I don’t take it lightly. There is a lot of work to be done and luckily it’s January and we are going to get to it. The plan is to pull this thing apart, see what we did well and then add some things. We are not going to just change for the sake of change. We are going to change it for the better. That’s the goal.”

Q: What is the most important thing a coordinator does for the offense? Strategy? Motivation?

Stefanski: “I don’t know if there is one most important thing. I think probably just getting our best players in positions to make plays is the lead goal, but certainly the other things you mentioned are part of it. As I look at this thing, it is my goal to make sure our best players, our playmakers, are getting the ball to score a bunch of points. That is the goal. You score more than the other team and you get a W. It’s kind of simple as I look at it. When you pull it apart and you identify your guys that is going to be our goal, play to our strengths.”

Q: What was it like going through the interview with the Cleveland Browns and what were the motions like when you got this job here permanently?

Stefanski: “Sure. It was a good experience to go through. I am exactly where I need to be. I am exactly where I want to be. I am happy to have gone through it. But this is a special opportunity here. It’s a special group that we have. I am excited to get started.”

Q: Why do you feel that this is the right place for you?”

Stefanski: “With Coach Zimmer and Rick, we’ve been in constant communication. I believe in this organization. I believe in Coach Zimmer. We have a shared vision of what this offense is going to look like. We are really excited to get started.”

Q: How critical is that Kirk Cousins, Kevin Stefanski relationship and how does that evolve and the important components to that?

Stefanski: “I hope to have a good relationship with all of our players on offense. Quite honestly, I know the quarterback position is pretty important in this league. Kirk and I spent a year together just now. I got to know him a little bit more. He got to know me a little bit more. That is something that we can build off of. Just like every player, and I texted a bunch of them these last few days, just like every player, I hope to develop a relationship with them and find out what we can get, how we can get the most out of each player.”

Q: How do you balance what you and Coach Zimmer want to do with the offense and how do you find that balance?

Stefanski: “I would go back to a shared vision. Having worked with Coach for a bunch of years now, I understand him and he understands me. I think we both understand what gives defenses problems, and as Coach being a defensive coordinator, understands real well what is hard on a defense. He’s someone that we’re going to use as a resource, certainly, and we’re going to put together game plans and a system and offense that we feel like gives our players the best chance to succeed on Sunday.”

Q: What piece of the three-game stint at the end of the season was most important in giving you a jump start?

Stefanski: “I don’t know [if I would say] anything specifically. I’m glad that I got an opportunity to do that. I wish I could have done better, I wish we could have done better, but certainly it was a good experience for me having not called plays before. But we’re really focused more on moving forward now and what’s next for us in terms of pulling this thing apart and getting something going when the players get back here April 15th.”

Q: Do you envision this being a whole new offense, or do you take bits and pieces of things that have been around since you’ve been here?

Stefanski: “I go back to [the fact] that we’re early in that process. I think I could better answer that in the spring, really. We’ll try to do absolutely everything, we’re going to look at everything, we’re going to really pull this thing apart and be very diligent about that aspect of it. What it ends up looking like I think remains to be seen. I have a pretty good idea of what I want it to look like and what Coach wants it to look like, but we’re going to work through that process and not skip any steps.”

Q: As you develop your offensive philosophy, who has been your biggest influences that you’ve worked with?

Stefanski: “I’ve had so many, I wouldn’t want to single any of them out. I’ve just been so fortunate to work with a bunch of really smart guys, and that’s at the coordinator level, the position coach level, different defensive coaches have had a big impact on me. So I wouldn’t single anybody out, I just would say that I’ve been very fortunate to have been around a lot of smart coaches.”

Q: While you were interviewing for the Browns job, what was the communication like with the Vikings?

Stefanski: “I would just tell you it was constant. Constantly talking to Coach Zimmer and Rick [Spielman] throughout that.”

Q: Was there anything you learned going through the interview process for a head coaching job?

Stefanski: “Again, interesting process, but really, really excited to be here and standing here. There’s a ton of work that needs to get done, and like Coach was just saying, we’ve went over some of it already. It’s going to be a process, but we’re going to make sure we don’t skip any steps as we put this thing together.”

Q: What do you want to see from the offensive line coach when that coach is hired?

Stefanski: “I would defer to Coach [Zimmer] when it comes to that. I just know as an offense, not necessarily as an offensive line, as an offense, this is the NFC North, so we’re going to be a physical group. Certainly when you talk about the offensive line and defensive line it starts there. That’s kind of going to be our thing moving forward.”

Q: How do you help the offense get that nasty edge back?

Stefanski: “I think it’s like Coach said, that’s going to be something that we do as a team. I kind of go back to the style of offense that we play will vary by game, but at the end of the day we’ll make sure that this is a physical unit.”

Q: What does the offensive line need to do to be better?

Stefanski: “I would say that we’re real early in that process of identifying and looking at last year and doing a scheme evaluation, so it’s too soon for me to say exactly.”

Q: Can you teach guys to be physical on the offensive line or is that something they have or don’t when they get here?

Stefanski: “I think Rick and the personnel department does a nice job of identify those traits in those guys and like Coach Zim has said, he wants smart, tough players that we are passionate about this game.”

Q: What advantage does it give you to be only in one place for so long here and putting roots down here?

Stefanski: “It’s very unique for sure. My approach has been from day one is get in here, keep my head down and work. I’m not going to change that approach, it’s gotten me this far. I’m appreciate to be in one spot for so long and again, I go back to we have a pretty special group with the ownership. Again, I feel very comfortable in this community – my wife, my kids, this has been home. I’ve raised three kids here, they were all born here so it’s important for me to be here, it’s important for me to have this job that’s going to be something that moving forward we’re going to have a lot of work to do. Looking forward to the challenge.”

Q: What will your plans for the quarterbacks coach be?

Stefanski: “Again, I think we’re working through all that. Coach Zimmer I’ll defer to him on those type of questions, but everything we’re working through.”

Q: How do you incorporate analytics when constructing a game plan?

Stefanski: “I think, like we always do, we look for any tool that can help us. Certainly analytics is one part of it. It is a tool, it’s not the end all be all, obviously. But it is something that both sides of the ball, offense and defense, try to use to our advantage and information is key.”

Q: Coach Zimmer talked about wanting to run the ball more, but it still is a passing league, where is the place in today’s game to run the football?

Stefanski: “I think what Coach Zim talked about was balance and that’s going to be what we want to do moving forward. We just don’t want to be predictable. I can’t tell you that we’re always going to run it or we’re always going to pass it. We’re going to try to be balanced and not be predictable.”

Q: How many times have you moved houses?

Stefanski: That’s a good question. Four.

 Q: Who are some of the people that have reached out to you around the league to offer congratulations on this job?

Stefanski: “Yeah, I’m so fortunate, again, to have been around some special people here and you know as coaches you get to know some different people around the league and I’ve got nothing but support from around the league and from my past. Again, appreciate those people and once I walk out of here it’s getting back to work.”

Q: Could you name any of those people, maybe Brad Childress?

Stefanski: “He would be one, yes.”

Q: Is that going to be a challenge for you as you build a bigger offense to it simple?

Stefanski: “That part won’t be challenging. Our goal is to put together a foundational scheme, right. Start at the bottom and build something, then week-to-week we can always pull from our foundation. But no, I don’t see that as a challenge.”

Q: How does it benefit a quarterback to stay within the same system and not move through offensive coordinators?

Stefanski: “Yeah, I think certainly every player is going to want some bit of continuity, but that’s not realistic often times in the NFL. We’re going to use this year as he got to know me and I got to know him. We’re going to use this offseason and have some open discussions and some dialogue as we put this thing together. It’s like any other player see what he’s comfortable with, see what we can do to maximize his potential.”

Vikings name Kevin Stefanski offensive coordinator

The Minnesota Vikings have named Kevin Stefanski offensive coordinator.

Stefanski took over as offensive coordinator on an interim basis after the team fired former OC John DeFilippo back in December.

“Kevin is a smart young coach with a bright future,” said Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer. “I’m happy to have him take over the offensive coordinator job. His work ethic and teaching ability have been obvious to me behind the scenes since I came here five years ago. He’s well respected by coaches and players both and I know he’s up to the task.”

Stefanski, the longest-tenured coach on the Vikings staff, completed his 13th season with the club in 2018 and has coached quarterbacks, tight ends and running backs in his dozen-plus seasons with the team. Stefanski served as the quarterbacks coach in 2017 and 2018 before being elevated to interim offensive coordinator for the final three games of the 2018 season.

In Stefanski’s first season working with quarterback Kirk Cousins, the veteran had a career year setting season bests in completion percentage (70.1 percent) and passing touchdowns (30) and threw the fewest interceptions (10) since becoming a full-time starter in 2015. Cousins reached benchmarks under the tutelage of Stefanski that no other quarterback in NFL history had, becoming the first ever to throw for at least 4,000 yards, at least 30 passing touchdowns, 10 or fewer interceptions and complete at least 70.0 percent of his passes in a season.

In Week 15 vs. the Dolphins, Stefanski’s first game as interim offensive coordinator, he guided the Vikings offense to a season-high 41 points and 418 yards of offense in a win over Miami. In his second game calling plays, a 27-9 road win at Detroit, Stefanski led the offense to 340 yards of offense and 27 points, giving the Vikings consecutive games of at least 27 points and at least 100 rushing yards for only the second time in a single season since Mike Zimmer was hired as head coach in 2014.

From 2009-13, Stefanski served as the Vikings assistant quarterbacks coach prior to coaching tight ends (2014-15) and running backs (2016) in Minnesota.

Stefanski started his Vikings career working directly with then-Head Coach Brad Childress on administrative duties and special projects from 2006-08. Stefanski became acquainted with Childress during Philadelphia Eagles training camp in 2005 while working with the team’s operations department.

Stefanski spent the 2005 season at his alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania, as assistant director of football operations. He coordinated all aspects of the Quaker football team’s day-to-day operations of the football team.

A team captain as a senior in 2004, Stefanski was part of one of the most successful stretches in the history of the Quakers football program. The team won Ivy League titles in 2000, 2002 and 2003, and the squad went undefeated in league play during 2002 and 2003.

Twice honored as an Honorable Mention All-Ivy choice in 2002 and 2004, he was named Penn’s Defensive Rookie of the Year as a freshman in 2000. During Stefanski’s tenure, the squad posted a 42-7 overall record and a 32-3 mark in Ivy League play. When Stefanski was a senior, the Quakers went 10-0 to become the 1st undefeated Penn team in a decade.

 Stefanski’s Background

Player

2000-04……………….. Pennsylvania // DB

Coaching/Administration

2005……………………. Pennsylvania // Football Operations

2006-08……………….. Minnesota Vikings // Assistant to the Head Coach

2009-13……………….. Minnesota Vikings // Assistant Quarterbacks

2014-15……………….. Minnesota Vikings // Tight Ends

2016……………………. Minnesota Vikings // Running Backs

2017-18……………….. Minnesota Vikings // Quarterbacks (Interim Offensive Coordinator for the final three games of 2018)

2019……………………. Minnesota Vikings // Offensive Coordinator

Zimmer on Cousins in big games: ‘I see that statistic and obviously it’s not a good statistic’

Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings came up small in the biggest game of the year. With an opportunity to make the playoffs, Cousins and the Vikings were dominated by the Bears 24-10 at home last Sunday.

In that game, Cousins did not play his best football. He was 20/33 for only 132 yards and one touchdown. Not good enough for a guy you gave a three-year, $84 million deal to last offseason.

Including his career with Redskins, Cousins is now 5-25 against teams with winning records, and is 0-1 in the playoffs.

Today, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer discussed the play of Cousins in 2018.

Q: Are you concerned about Kirk Cousins’ performances in big games and clutch situations?

Zimmer: “I see that statistic and obviously it’s not a good statistic. Quite honestly, it’s about the football team. One guy doesn’t win games around here; one guy doesn’t lose games. I don’t take it that way. I have a lot of confidence in Kirk. I’ve talked to him, I’ve talked to some other people about how I can help him better and things that I can do moving forward and so he’s going to come out and play really good next year.”

Q: In what ways did Kirk Cousins live up to your expectations and what you would like to see him improve on?

Zimmer: “Certainly there’s a lot of things in both areas. I really don’t want to get into specifics, sit here in front of all of you and tell you what he can get better at. I’d rather talk to him about those things. As far as the things he did good, number one he came in here and was a great teammate. He studied real hard; he worked extremely hard at everything he was trying to get done. I do think there are some areas he could get better at and I’m sure he’d tell you the same thing.”

Q: Was his play this season what you expected from him?

Zimmer: I think it’s more about the combination of the team, not one particular player.

Cousins(4298 yards, 30 TD/10 INT) put up good numbers in 2018, but he has to be better in big games. Minnesota not making the playoffs is not all on Cousins, but when you pay a guy that type of money, you are expecting a huge return, especially with the Vikings coming off an NFC title game appearance in 2017.

Cousins was surrounded by a lot of talented players in Minnesota. However, in the end, he was not able to get it done.