The Vikings might go outside the organization to hire their next offensive coordinator, the Wild finally get it right in overtime and a jersey that pays tribute to the past and looks fantastic in the present.
- Item: The Vikings will interview Giants wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert for their vacant offensive coordinator position, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
- Reaction: It has been assumed that Vikings quarterbacks coach Klint Kubiak, whose father, Gary, recently retired as the team’s offensive coordinator, will be promoted to take over for his dad. Kubiak knows this offense inside and out, and coach Mike Zimmer is believed to want to stick with a scheme with which quarterback Kirk Cousins is familiar. It’s an offense that also finished fourth in the NFL this season in yards and is based on Dalvin Cook and the run game. As we all know, establishing the run is very important to Zimmer. But Tolbert is an interesting name to emerge. He coached wide receivers under Gary Kubiak during the Broncos’ Super Bowl season and would keep the same system in place. Tolbert might interest Zimmer in part because he’s 53; Kubiak is only 33. When 37-year-old Kevin Stefanski was the Vikings’ offensive coordinator in 2019, Zimmer had Gary Kubiak on his coaching staff as an offensive adviser. Klint Kubiak likely remains the favorite for the job, but the 64-year-old Zimmer might think older is better in this case.
- Item: The Wild improved to 3-0 in overtime on Sunday when defenseman Jonas Brodin scored to beat Colorado.
- Reaction: Brodin’s goal 18 seconds into overtime gave the Wild a 4-3 victory and kept them perfect in the extra session. That’s a big difference from 2019-20 when the Wild lost its first four games that went into 3-on-3 overtime and won three games all season while playing 3-on-3. The reason for the change is obvious. The Wild no longer have veterans like Eric Staal (now in Buffalo), Mikko Koivu (now in Columbus), Zach Parise or Ryan Suter on the ice when the 5-minute session starts. Instead, coach Dean Evason is going with youth and speed. In a season-opening victory over the Kings, rookie standout Kirill Kaprizov scored at 3:47 of overtime. Two nights later, Brodin and Kaprizov set up Marcus Johansson for the winning goal. On Sunday, Evason used center Joel Eriksson Ek, winger Jordan Greenway and Brodin to start. Minnesota took control off the face off and Brodin rocketed a slapshot off a pass from Greenway for the winner. It was somewhat surprising that Kaprizov did not start, but Eriksson Ek and Greenway have both had terrific starts to the season and rewarded Evason for the faith he showed in them. The 3-on-3 overtime format is one of the best things the NHL has done and is extremely exciting when fast and skilled players are on the ice. It’s nice to see the Wild brain trust finally realized this.
- Item: Wild wear their reverse retro jerseys for the first time.
- Reaction: Bravo. The Wild unveiled their homage to the Minnesota North Stars before the season but it’s difficult to tell how a uniform is going to look until you see players wearing it on the ice. This look did not disappoint. While there were some tweets from television viewers saying they had trouble picking up the yellow jersey numbers, the overall color scheme was strong. The stars on the breezers were a great touch. There are some who feel the Wild should have their own identity and that it’s time to move on from the North Stars (1967-1993), but there are two things working against that argument. The Wild, celebrating their 20th season in the NHL, doesn’t exactly have a rich history. The team’s deepest playoff run came in its third season (2003) and ended in the conference finals. The other issue is that the North Stars name and logo was one of the best in the NHL. The Wild nickname has never been embraced in the same way. These are the best jerseys the Wild have ever produced and it’s not particularly close. The team will wear this look five more time this season, including in both games next weekend against Arizona. Hopefully, somebody with the organization can work to make them a permanent part of the rotation.
— Minnesota Wild (@mnwild) February 1, 2021
— SKOR North (@SKORNorth) February 1, 2021