Quick Takes includes items on Eric Bieniemy, Justin Jefferson and the Chicago Bears potentially upgrading at quarterback.
- Item: Kansas City offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy reportedly will become a coaching free agent after the Super Bowl on Sunday.
- Reaction: How Bieniemy did not land one of the seven head coach openings in the NFL is a mystery. Is it because Andy Reid has so much influence on the Chiefs’ offense that potential employers don’t know how much credit Bieniemy should get? Is it because Patrick Mahomes is so good that there is concern that Bieniemy, if paired with a mere mortal at quarterback, wouldn’t have success? Is it because Brad Childress didn’t call plays in Philadelphia years ago under Reid and, when he did start doing it as the Vikings’ coach, it wasn’t with great success? This much we know: Bieniemy deserves the chance to be a head coach in the NFL and leaving Kansas City could be one way to get him his own team. Bieniemy, who was the Vikings’ running backs coach from 2006 to 2009, likely will return to the Chiefs but certainly some teams will start calling him on Sunday night. Could the Vikings be one of them? Coach Mike Zimmer wants to continue having Kirk Cousins run the same scheme, but the Vikings could have a chance to bring in an offensive-minded coach who would bring with him a complete knowledge of what the Chiefs are doing. Cousins isn’t going to become Mahomes — stop laughing! — but NFL teams love to steal ideas from each other on both sides of the ball. Hiring Bieniemy would mean Zimmer likely would have his replacement on the Vikings’ staff, but if ownership gets involved in the decision to pursue Bienemy (the Wilfs know him) this might be out of Zimmer’s hands.
- Item: Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson finished second to Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert in NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year voting. Herbert received 41 of the 50 votes and Jefferson got the other nine. Jefferson was trying to become the first wide receiver to win the award since Odell Beckham Jr. in 2014.
- Reaction: As impressive as Jefferson was this season, winning any award over a quarterback in 2021 is extremely difficult. The big surprise was how one-sided the voting ended up. Jefferson was the fifth of six wide receivers taken in the first round, but established the Super Bowl-era rookie record for receiving yards in a season with 1,400 and was named second-team All Pro. Jefferson’s numbers (88 catches and seven touchdowns) would have been even more impressive but the Vikings only threw to him a combined six times (five catches) in the opening two weeks before beginning to use him on a regular basis. Herbert, the sixth pick in the draft, had a fantastic season, setting several rookie records. Nonetheless, it’s not as if Jefferson played a position at which a guy’s performance can get lost in the shuffle. Jefferson arrived in Minnesota with the hope that he could help replace Stefon Diggs and he did more than anyone could have expected. One would have thought that would have gotten Jefferson more than nine votes.
- Item: The NFL’s league year doesn’t begin until 3 p.m. on March 17, but that hasn’t stopped a flurry of activity from happening with quarterbacks. The Detroit Lions and Los Angeles Rams already have agreed to a trade that will exchange Matthew Stafford and Jared Goff and reports this weekend have the Eagles closing in on moving Carson Wentz, the Jets getting calls on Sam Darnold. ESPN also reported that the Carolina Panthers offered the eighth overall pick in this year’s draft, a fifth-round pick and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to Detroit in an attempt to get Stafford.
- Reaction: The most interesting potential move here is a Wentz trade to Chicago. It looks as if Wentz and the Eagles might both benefit from a divorce, especially if Philadelphia can get the type of package Detroit did for Stafford. (The Rams sent a third-round pick this year and two future first-rounders to the Lions, in addition to Goff.) Wentz is coming off a miserable season, but was considered a potential MVP candidate at one time. In Chicago, he would be reunited with quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, who was Wentz’s position coach for two years in Philadelphia before becoming the Vikings’ offensive coordinator for less than a season. Wentz would figure to be a major upgrade on Mitch Trubisky, if the Bears can get him back to his earlier form. That might be bad news for Chicago’s opponents in the NFC North. Of course, this is the Bears quarterback position we are talking about so there is always the chance Wentz could completely fall apart.