The Vikings have made some minor coaching hires in the last week or so. The first one was making a move to bring in a new running backs coach. They also brought in a new tight ends coach. Adrian Peterson also made some headlines today and his future was also talked about in my article about the Vikings running back situation, but it seems like Peterson may be done in Minnesota if he wants $18 million.
The Vikings have decided to bring in Kennedy Polamalu as running backs coach. Yes, he is related to Troy Polamalu – he is Troy’s uncle. Kennedy has been a part of the UCLA Bruins coaching staff for the last three seasons. He was the offensive coordinator in 2016 and the running backs coach in 2014 and 2015. Before that he spent time at USC from 2010-2012 and from 2000-2003. There he held the titles of running backs coach as well as special teams coordinator and offensive coordinator. He also played fullback for USC from 1982-1985.
Polamalu also spent time in the NFL as a running backs coach with the Cleveland Browns in 2004 and with the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2005-2009. He also spent time with San Diego State and Colorado. It would appear as if the Vikings continue to like UCLA guys. Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks, Jeff Locke, Kai Forbath, Kevin McDermott, and Mike Harris, who played guard for the Vikings last season, are all from UCLA. So it is possible that the Vikings just like guys from there, but it’s also possible UCLA just consistently produces NFL talent.
The Vikings also have also hired a new tight ends coach. The title was previously held by current Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. Shurmur took over the offensive coordinator job when Norv Turner resigned after the team’s Week 8 loss to the Chicago Bears. You can read more on Shurmur’s performance as coordinator in my first article for Armchair All-Americans. The new tight ends coach for the Vikings is the former Denver Broncos tight ends coach, Clancy Barone.
Barone was with Denver from 2009-2016 where he coached not only tight ends but also the offensive line. He was the offensive line coach in 2010 and the last two seasons and coached tight ends in 2009 and from 2011-2014. Barone also has spent time in the NFL with San Diego (2007-2008, tight ends coach), Atlanta (2004-2006, offensive line and tight ends coach). He also coached college football from 1987-2003. Barone may be able to continue the growth of former high school basketball player Kyle Rudolph as a tight end, as Barone helped Julius Thomas transition from basketball to the tight end position.
Barone also may push offensive line coach Tony Sparano to improve at his job. It appears as if Barone has had some valuable experience with coaching offensive lines. He was an offensive line coach in both Denver and Atlanta and in his days as a college coach. If the Vikings offensive line continues to struggle in 2017, look for Sparano’s job to be in jeopardy.
News also came out today that Adrian Peterson sees himself playing for around 5 more seasons in the NFL. He said in an interview with ESPN’s First Take that he is comfortable with playing for about 5 more years and he may decide to spend more time with his kids after that. He also said that he could see himself playing in Houston or Tampa Bay, and did not rule out the New York Giants when they were mentioned. Peterson also believes that he has earned every penny of that $18 million he is set to make next season, barring a restructure of his contract. The Vikings more than likely believe that Peterson is simply just not worth that much money. They have too many other needs to be addressed in free agency and the draft to pay him that much.
Peterson has been injury prone the past few years, and the child abuse situation he dealt with in 2014 was a huge distraction. Peterson did say in his end of the year press conference that he would be willing to take a pay-cut. However, he may be have been insincere when he said that considering what he said today. There’s no doubt Peterson has been a pleasure to watch throughout his career and is a sure-fire Hall of Famer. I most certainly would never bet against him but the Vikings may have other plans at the running back position. If the Vikings still have a soft spot in their heart for AP then he could be back. Time will tell.
Next week I will break down the Vikings offensive line situation and options in the draft and free agency.
For more up to date Vikings news and takes follow me on Twitter @RadioReuben