Ficken will call the shots on special teams for the first time in his 14 years after former special teams coordinator Marwan Maalouf was not offered a new contract to begin the new year. with the Vikings as he’s one of the longest-tenured coaches with the franchise
Players, both current and former, shared their approval of the hire, including former special teams star-turned Pro Bowl wideout Adam Thielen and the franchise’s all-time fourth-leading tackler Chad Greenway.
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Vikings Sound off on Ficken’s Promotion
Minnesota’s official announcement of Ficken’s promotion over Twitter was met with resounding approval.
Thielen, who spent three seasons on special teams before becoming a starter, is evidence of the development Ficken has played a part in during his time with the Vikings.
Thielen was one of the first players to tout his approval of the signing.
Greenway also got in on the action.
— Chad Greenway (@chadgreenway52) February 1, 2021
Former Vikings linebacker Ben Leber chipped in his two cents.
— Ben Leber (@nacholeber) February 1, 2021
Kevin McDermott, a former Minnesota long snapper called Ficken “the right man for the job.”
Ficken Inherits Futility on Special Teams
Ficken has the next 24 hours to bask in the fanfare of his hiring, however, he’ll soon take the lead responsibility of turning around a special teams unit that ranked 31st in the league in 2020.
Minnesota finished with the worst efficiency rating in place-kicking and second-worst on kickoff, punts and punt returns. In total, the special teams unit cost the Vikings nearly 47 points this season, according to Football Outsiders.
While kicker Dan Bailey bears the brunt of the blame, a midseason switch at long snapper came right before his seven missed kicks between Week 10 and Week 11.
The Vikings also ranked dead last in punt return average of just 4.3 yards — the longest return of just 13 yards coming in Week 17 against the Detroit Lions.
Minnesota ranked last in starting field position on both offense and defense. Punter Briton Colquitt ranked 31st in net punting average, while the rest of the punt team allowed the third-most punt return yards.
Vikings Hire New Strength & Conditioning Coach
The Vikings also announced the official hire of former Philadelphia Eagles strength and conditioning coach Josh Hingst after spending the past eight seasons with the Eagles.
The only vacancies remaining are the offensive coordinator and defensive backs coach positions. The Star Tribune’s Ben Goessling Coach Mike Zimmer has also expressed interest in hiring an offensive advisor — similar to the role Gary Kubiak played in 2019 before becoming offensive coordinator.
Quarterbacks coach Klint Kubiak is considered the favorite for the offensive coordinator position as Minnesota seeks continuity on offense for the upcoming season.
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Trevor Squire is a Heavy contributor covering the Minnesota Vikings and journalism graduate from the University of Minnesota — Twin Cities. Connect with him on Twitter @trevordsquire and join our Vikings community at Heavy on Vikings on Facebook.