The Vikings kept Kevin Stefanski from going to the Giants this past offseason as an insurance policy.
They cashed it in Tuesday.
Stefanski, who was head coach Pat Shurmur’s first choice to be Giants offensive coordinator, was promoted from quarterbacks coach in conjunction with the firing of John DeFilippo entering the final three games of the season.
Because Stefanski was under contract for 2018, the Vikings had the right to block him from interviewing with the Giants last offseason even after passing him over to replace Shurmur as their offensive coordinator. The Vikings tapped DeFilippo, who was the Eagles quarterbacks coach during the run to the Super Bowl with Nick Foles replacing an injured Carson Wentz.
The Vikings offense struggled under DeFilippo’s watch and there are reports he did not mesh with coach Mike Zimmer. The breaking point was Monday’s near-shutout loss at the end of Seahawks.
DeFilippo has been rumored as a hot head coaching candidate for the coming offseason, mainly connected with the Jets. But can he really go from fired coordinator to head coach in a matter of weeks?
Stefanski is reported to be in the final year of his contract and being given an opportunity with the organization he has been with since starting at the bottom in 2006, through three coaching changes.
What does it mean for the Giants?
Shurmur calls the plays for the Giants, whose offense averaged less than 20 points per game during a 1-7 start but has averaged 27.8 points per game during a recent 4-1 stretch to get back to the fringe of the playoff picture.
Mike Shula is the Giants’ offensive coordiantor and quarterbacks coach.
If the Giants want to make a switch after the season — there is no indication of that happening but coaching staff shakeups are common in the NFL — an unrestricted Stefanski likely would jump back to the top of the list if not retained by Zimmer. He was Vikings running backs coach in 2016 and quarterbacks coach in 2017 when Shurmur was offensive coordinator.
“I think Kevin (Stefanski) is a tremendous coach and obviously the Vikings feel the same way.” Shurmur said at the 2018 NFL Combine. “I think he has a bright future. He’s a good man. The Vikings did a good thing by keeping him.”
The 36-year-old Stefanski is the son of former Nets general manager Ed Stefanski and, though raised outside of Philadelphia, spent summers at the Jersey Shore where his family maintained a home.
If not a head coach, DeFilippo could make sense as a Giants assistant, too. He worked with a young Eli Manning as a Giants offensive quality control coach in 2005-06, as Jets quarterback coach in 2009, and he and Shurmur have many mutual friends — most notably Eagles coach Doug Pederson — coming from similar coaching backgrounds.