Could the Vikings Bring Back a Familiar Coach Who’s Been Left Out to Dry?

Jan 7, 2024; Landover, Maryland, USA; Washington Commanders offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy on the field before the game against the Dallas Cowboys at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

This offseason has seen a number of notable coaching changes throughout the NFL.

Head coaching and coordinator positions alike have seen some major shuffles over the past few weeks. One such change involved a former Vikings coach, Eric Bieniemy, who won’t be returning to Washington as offensive coordinator in 2024. As a result, could the Vikings bring him back this season?

Could the Vikings Bring Back a Familiar Coach?

Could the Vikings Bring Back a Familiar Coach?
Jul 30, 2010; Mankato, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings running backs coach Eric Bieniemy prepares for drills at training camp at Blakeslee Field at the Minnesota State University. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this week, Adam Schefter of ESPN reported the news, tweeting, “New Commanders’ HC Dan Quinn said Eric Bieniemy will not return to Washington’s staff.”

The Commanders went on to hire Kliff Kingsbury, and it doesn’t appear that Bieniemy will get an OC job elsewhere, either. The Seattle Seahawks recently hired Ryan Grubb to be their offensive coordinator while the Los Angeles Chargers hired Greg Roman for 2024. The only true vacant position is that of the New Orleans Saints (Kyle Shanahan serves as the de facto OC in San Francisco), but they are widely expected to hire Klint Kubiak following the conclusion of the Super Bowl this weekend.

In short, jobs are quickly drying up for Bieniemy. This could leave the Vikings in a great position to bring in a fantastic mind that the Wilfs are very familiar with. Bieniemy served as the running backs coach in Minnesota for five seasons from 2006-2010.

Jul 30, 2010; Mankato, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) runs a drill with running backs coach Eric Bieniemy at training camp at Blakeslee Field at the Minnesota State University. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

One year into his stint, the Vikings landed Adrian Peterson with the seventh overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. The RB immediately rattled off four consecutive Pro Bowl seasons and won Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2007.

After his time in Minnesota concluded, Bieniemy took on the offensive coordinator role with the University of Colorado before joining the Kansas City Chiefs in 2013, again as the RBs coach. In 2018, Bieniemy was promoted to offensive coordinator, and he helped the Chiefs lead the NFL in total yards three times and total points twice. He won two Super Bowls as a member of Kansas City’s coaching staff.

Of course, the 2023 season in Washington didn’t exactly go well, but can he really be blamed for all of that? The team never had an offense that was built to compete in the NFC East with Sam Howell at QB, and Ron Rivera was also fired as head coach.

Oct 16, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy leaves the field against the Buffalo Bills prior to the game at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Seeing as the Vikings faced major struggles in the running game during 2023, Bieniemy would be an intriguing addition to the coaching staff with all his experience coaching that area.

Kevin O’Connell has been great at scheming up a passing game, but the Vikings have ranked near the bottom of the NFL in carries, rushing yards, and rushing TDs over the past two seasons. A more balanced attack would certainly help Minnesota get back into the mix in the NFC.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference helped with this article.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.

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