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Vikings begin search for next offensive coordinator after Gary Kubiak retires

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Denver Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak, left and Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer shake hands following an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

The Vikings are searching for their sixth offensive coordinator since Mike Zimmer became coach in 2014.

That became official Thursday when Gary Kubiak retired after two seasons with the Vikings, including one as offensive coordinator. It was reported Kubiak was expected to retire shortly after the Vikings completed a 7-9 season on Jan. 3. Zimmer said in his season-ending press conference that the 59-year-old Kubiak was taking time to make a decision.

Candidates to replace Kubiak include his son, Klint, who spent the past two seasons as the Vikings’ quarterbacks coach. The Vikings’ next hire as offensive coordinator will be the fourth in Kirk Cousins’ four seasons as the team’s quarterback.

Gary Kubiak joined Zimmer’s coaching staff in 2019 to serve as assistant head coach and offensive advisor, working with coordinator Kevin Stefanski. When Stefanski left to become coach of the Cleveland Browns after last season, Kubiak moved into the coordinator’s role. The Vikings finished fourth in total offense in the NFL this season, averaging 393.3 yards per game. The Vikings’ 26.9 points per game ranked 11th in the league.

“It’s been the honor of my lifetime to work for 36 seasons as an NFL player and coach,” Gary Kubiak said in a statement. “I’ve been on a football field for most of my life, and now I look forward to stepping away from the game and enjoying more time with my family and friends.”

Norv Turner was the first to hold the offensive coordinator’s position under Zimmer but he abruptly quit during the 2016 season. Pat Shurmur, who was working as the Vikings’ tight ends coach at the time, replaced Turner and held the job through 2017. He was named coach of the New York Giants after the Vikings went 13-3 and advanced to the NFC championship game.

John DeFilippo was hired off the Eagles coaching staff but didn’t even last the entire 2018 season before he was fired and replaced by Stefanski. Stefanski served as the chief play-caller for the Vikings in 2019, but Kubiak had plenty of input on the scheme that Minnesota ran with Cousins.

Kubiak spent time as head coach of the Houston Texans (2006-2013) and Denver (2015-16), leading the Broncos to a Super Bowl title. During the 2013 season, Kubiak collapsed on the field as he walked off at halftime during the Texans’ game against Indianapolis. He suffered a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA), which is often called a “mini-stroke.”

Kubiak resigned as the Broncos coach after the 2016 season because of health concerns.