Just in time for the Dolphins to arrive in Minneapolis Sunday, the Vikings offense and coaching staff has created a hot mess.
On full display on Monday Night Football in Seattle, Minnesota only mustered a “garbage touchdown” in the final two minutes of the game to avoid being shut out in a 21 – 7 lost the Seahawks.
Coach Mike Zimmer had seen enough and fired his offensive coordinator John Defilippo after the team arrived on back in Minneapolis early Tuesday morning.
Difilippo had only come to the Vikings this past February, where he had previously been the Eagles quarterback coach during their Super Bowl run last season. Apparently, Zimmer was not thrilled with having to go outside of the organization to hire his OC, when Pat Shurmur left that position and took the Giants head coaching job last year.
Also enter Redskins free agent Kirk Cousins ,who signed a massive guaranteed contract to come to Minnesota and keep the Vikings offense rolling. It has been anything but that, including the last two weeks where the Vikings scored a total of 17 points at New England and against the Seahawks.
And one of the biggest beneficiaries of this will be the Dolphins. Miami will travel to Minnesota Sunday for what is a critical match-up for both teams in their respective conference wild-card races.
The Vikings have promoted quarterbacks coach Kevin Stefanski to be the new play-caller and try to resurrect things with Cousins. And, the Dolphins Defenders like Robert Quinn, Cam Wake, Kiko Alonso and others have to be licking their chops.
One thing the Fins will have to be ready for his Minnesota to try to run the ball more with former FSU standout Dalvin Cook and his backfield mate Latavius Murray. A big criticism of the Vikings, and something that Zimmer has acknowledged as a reason to make the change, is Minnesota has gotten way too “pass-happy” in their play calls.
It’s believed that may have been the biggest reason why Zimmer wanted to make the change 14 weeks into his first season with difilippo as offensive coordinator.
And of course, coming back home and with a new play caller, Minnesota hopes to “jump-start” Cousins and the offense against the Dolphins.
Minnesota is currently 6 – 6 – 1 and occupying the final NFC wild-card spot by that half-game over a pack of teams that includes Carolina Philadelphia and Washington.
Miami remains in a four-way tie at 7 – 6 in the AFC playoff picture for the final wild-card spot. The other teams in the tie are Baltimore, Indianapolis and Tennessee.
Bama QB Tua Tagovailoa present to start NFL combine
The NFL Scouting Combine is getting underway in Indianapolis this week and on Monday morning, one of the prized quarterbacks that will be available early in the first round of the draft was there for official measurements and to meet with teams.
Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, whose season ended with a fractured hip last November, is on the road to recovery and he was officially measured and also, met with numerous teams that are looking at the possibility of drafting him:
Tua Tagovailoa measured at 6-0, 217 pounds at the NFL combine today. Left throwing hand at 10”
— Cameron Wolfe (@CameronWolfe) February 24, 2020
In addition to not only the injured hip, but also a history of high ankle sprain problems, Tagovailoa has got to answer critics on his size. At just 6 – 0 feet there will be concerns about his ability to clearly see downfield through the massive bodies on NFL Sundays.
However, this can be combated by moving him around out of the pocket and that’s something that Alabama was successful at doing over his three years as well.
As we wrote recently, Tagovailoa was injured in Alabama’s 10th game of the season suffering a fractured hip on a sack late in the first half at Mississippi State. He missed the Tide’s final two regular-season games and then, their Citrus Bowl win January 1st, over Michigan
He came to Alabama from Hawaii and the same high school as Marcus Mariota, having thrown for over 8,000 yards which at that time was a Hawaii High School record. And, he had a career of 84 passing and 27 rushing touchdowns in three seasons.
Tua burst onto the scene nationally, when he relieved Jalen Hurts in the second half and overtime of Alabama’s thrilling title game win over Georgia in the 2018 College Football Playoff Championship Game. Tagovailoa threw the game-winning touchdown pass on the first overtime possession, as Alabama celebrated their fifth National Title in nine seasons under Saban.
In his second season at the helm in the 2018 regular season, Tagovailoa was named second-team AP All-American and was a Heisman Trophy finalist, as the Tide reached the National Title game, again, before being beaten soundly by Clemson 12 months ago.
As this junior season unfolded, Tagovailoa was named almost became synonymous with the Dolphins, who started the season horribly at 0 – 7 and the moniker “Tank for Tua” began to gain momentum in South Florida.
Tagovailoa is obviously on the Dolphins list to look at strongly to select in the top five in the draft and currently, Miami is slated to pick fifth.
It is expected that Tagovailoa will work out for teams probably later in March or maybe even, early April at the Tide’s facility in Tuscaloosa, prior to the NFL draft coming to Las Vegas.
Colorado announced hire of Dolphins assistant Dorrel Sunday
Former UCLA coach and recently promoted Dolphins assistant Karl Dorrell is headed back to college, as the new head coach of the Colorado Buffaloes.
The school confirmed Dorrell’s hire on Sunday evening with a five-year contract to take over their Big 12 program:
We'd like to officially introduce you to our new HC, Karl Dorrell.
— Colorado Buffaloes Football (@CUBuffsFootball) February 23, 2020
The Buffaloes have been seeking a head coach since there coach Mel Tucker abruptly left to take the Michigan State job earlier this month.
Dorrell came to the dolphins with Brian Flores this past season, as wide receiver coach and earlier last week was promoted to assistant head coach for the upcoming season. Miami’s top receiver, DeVante Parker, blossomed under Dorrell’s tutelage as the year went on. He finished the season with 72 catches for 1,202 yards and nine touchdowns becoming the favorite target of QB Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Dorrel is the latest Dolphins assistant on the move. Flores fired the offensive coordinator Chad O’Shea he brought with him from New England. And, his defensive coordinator Patrick Graham left to take the same job with the Giants.
Dorrell had also been the Dolphins receivers coach, previously from 2008 – 10 and then, their quarterbacks coach in 2011 under the late Tony Sparano.
“I am excited that Karl Dorrell has agreed to become our head football coach,” George said. “Karl has had great success as a college coach, both as a head coach and an assistant, and he knows the Pac-12 Conference and West Coast well. It was important that our next coach have CU ties, and Karl has those ties having worked at CU twice previously. Karl shares my passion for Colorado and our vision for winning championships. He will be a tremendous mentor and role model for our student-athletes, and he will provide great leadership for our program going forward.”
The CU Board of Regents still have to approve Dorrell’s contract, which will be $18 million for five seasons.
Dorrell had previously been on Colorado staffs two other times in his career, including most recently as offensive coordinator under Rick Neuheisel from 1995- 98.
Dorrell was named head coach of his alma mater UCLA in 2003, where he lasted five seasons and went to a bowl game every year finishing with a career 35 – 27 record before being fired after the 2007 season.
Dorrell had previously been receivers coach for the New York Jets 2015 – 18 under Todd Bowles (above) and two of his receivers had made the Pro Bowl during his time there.
Colorado picked Dorrell from an interview process that also included former Buffaloes player and Kansas City Super Bowl offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy, who interviewed and was under strong consideration.