It might seem drastic. It might seem rash. But the Vikings cutting ties with offensive coordinator John DeFilippo BEFORE the end of his first season serving as the offensive coordinator just had to happen, or so it would seem.
It's been two or three weeks now that we've seen evidence of trouble in paradise between head coach Mike Zimmer and DeFilippo. It's come through struggles on the field. It's been in the shape of fleeting comments in postgame press conferences. It's been showcased a few different ways, but it's clearly been brewing for a while.
Last night in Seattle was the breaking point.
Before lunchtime on Monday, Zimmer had made the decision and Flip was out. But where did it go wrong and why did it have to end so abruptly, in the manner that it did?
For all intents and purposes, the experiment with Flip as O.C. might have been doomed before it even began. Remember back to the offseason for a minute with me. Pat Shurmur had officially accepted the head coaching job with the New York Giants leaving a void at O.C. here in Minnesota. The Vikings began interviewing candidates for the job, one of which was the present interim offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski.
But from outside the organization came this wunderkind candidate fresh off of winning the Super Bowl with the Philadelphia Eagles. When the official hire was made, the national reaction was extremely positive.
"They're getting a very, very, very industrious & very smart, young coach" Bill Polian said.
"Fans will love him," Marc Sessler added.
"John DeFilippo rules, and his tape study videos talking about Foles in the red zone are my idea of prestige television," Kevin Clark said.
These comments were the consensus too. Everybody was all over DeFilippo as one of the league's next great young coaches. In fact, all year long he was a name that continued to pop up on the radar for future HEAD coaching opportunities.
That's a lot of pressure for a coach who had yet to really prove himself as a good quarterbacks coach who helped make the decision to draft Carson Wentz. But how much of that was Flip and how much was Doug Peterson? Peterson called plays in Philly and it was assumed that Flip would bring some of that flare here to Minnesota. That never happened. Maybe he was sold a little too high as the next big thing from the outset? Maybe he was the product of a Doug Peterson led offense? Maybe he wasn't ready for the play-calling responsibilities?
At this point, we think we know all of these things to be true. He wasn't ready, was a product of the organization (it would see) and wasn't ready to be "the man". So the Vikings moved on. And they had to do it now.
At 6-6-1, the Vikings are presently holding down a playoff spot but man it doesn't feel like it. All hope has been lost for this team to do anything in the playoffs. Fans are turning on your $84 million quarterback. Receivers are venting in the locker room. It's a recipe for disaster whether or not the team makes the playoffs. And this coming from a team that was a Super Bowl favorite to start the year...
The Vikings offense needs a spark, the needed a change.
Maybe it won't work out. Maybe they don't have the offensive line enough to do anything. But right now, they needed to make a change and unfortunately Flip was the cost of doing business this time around.