Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak is considered the godfather of the play-action, outside zone-running scheme that has been borrowed and reimagined by many young head coaches around the league.
The Los Angeles Rams’ Sean McVay and San Francisco 49ers’ Kyle Shanahan each led their to teams to the Super Bowl in the past two years with the installation of an offense that Kubiak helped create. Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur has seen success in his first two years at the helm in Green Bay, with a combined 24-6 record and back-to-back NFC North titles employing a similar scheme.
The offense complements versatile running styles and mobile quarterbacks who don’t need to be the next Patrick Mahomes or Tom Brady to be great.
Six-time Chicago Bears Pro Bowl offensive lineman Olin Kreutz believes Kubiak could do wonders with Mitchell Trubisky and the Bears, naming Kubiak as a potential target for the head coaching position after Matt Nagy’s struggles with the team this season. He also coupled Vikings offensive line coach Rick Dennison in the hypothetical hire to take over the offensive line and coordinator coaching duties in Chicago.
“Say you say to yourself, ‘I’m going to go hire Gary Kubiak, the offensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings,’” Kreutz said on The Football Aftershow, per NBC Sports. “ ‘I’m going to bring in Rick Dennison to be his offensive coordinator and offensive line coach, and we’re going to this outside zone, boot scheme that he (Trubisky) was drafted for.’ ”
The Bears’ 33-27 win over Minnesota on Sunday was evidence of Trubisky’s potential with a solid running foundation.
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Kubiak’s Built a Solid Resume this Season
After a sluggish start to the season, the Vikings offense has taken off, ranking fifth in the league in total rushing yards (2,068) and fourth in yards per attempt (4.9). Dalvin Cook leads the league with 1,833 all-purpose yards and is second to only Tyreek Hill in total touchdowns (16).
The passing game has capitalized on its opportunities as Adam Thielen is third in the league with 13 receiving touchdowns and rookie Justin Jefferson ranks eighth in receiving yards (1,182) while Kirk Cousins has thrown the fifth-fewest pass attempts in the league.
Cousins has turned around tremendously after leading the league with 10 interceptions entering the Week 7 bye week. He has since thrown 18 touchdowns and just three picks in the past eight games where the Vikings have gone 5-3.
Would Kubiak Leave?
But after all the improvements and accolades, Minnesota (7-8) still finds itself virtually out of playoff contention, partially on a porous defense that has allowed the seventh-most points in the league (25.9). The offense has kept the Vikings in games and had opportunities to win a handful this season, yet questionable play-calling has been a bane to the team that’s climb from a 1-5 start to the season has been shaky.
While Kubiak is the primary offensive play-caller, Zimmer has had a say in past decisions holds the final say. Onto their fourth offensive coordinator in as many years, Kubiak’s departure wouldn’t be too surprising given his track record for a team that under Zimmer has struggled to maintain consistency in their playcalling.
Would Kubiak leave? He’s been asked if he’d consider returning as a head coach given his return to coaching after a brief hiatus and replied “No, it’s not giving me the itch… I had my chance to be the head coach… That’s not for me anymore.”
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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.