Should the Minnesota Vikings 2021 season go pear-shaped similar to the 2020 campaign, a pathway to Eric Bieniemy as head coach is unexpectedly available.
Bieniemy, the current Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator, has been explored for head-coaching duties by the Bengals, Browns, Buccaneers, Cardinals, Dolphins, Eagles, Falcons, Chargers, Giants, Jets, Lions, and Texans during the last two offseasons. Mathematically, that is about 40% of all NFL teams that have chosen a different coaching candidate over the 51-year-old Bieniemy.
Something’s gotta give.
The Vikings are not scheduled to have a depressing season in 2021 as several notable injured players will return and presumably make an impact. But 2020 was not supposed to be a 7-9 year either. Minnesota was forecasted by oddsmakers to win 9-10 games and contend with the Green Bay Packers for the NFC North Division. Instead, the Vikings bumbled to a 1-5 start, conducted a midseason surge, and fell flat again when a playoff berth was at stake.
The 7-9 finish shortened the leash on Mike Zimmer’s seven-year-long employment with the Vikings. He may not start the season with toasty buttocks, but any semblance of an underwhelming year – injuries or no injuries – will accelerate calls for his ouster.
On Bieniemy, the Chiefs offensive guru is already coveted by Vikings loyalists. Kansas City has scripted three full seasons of gargantuan offensive output, and Minnesota fans believe he could do the same in the North Star State.
If 2021 is Zimmer’s final year with the franchise, Bieniemy would be there for the taking as the Vikings new skipper.
Per Marcellus in Hamlet, something is rotten in the state of Denmark.
For unknown reasons, countless teams have passed on affording Bieniemy his shot at the big job. The gossipy take is that the man interviews poorly. Well, it is not for the lack of eloquence or cordiality. Pull up any YouTube stream of Bieniemy physically speaking, and this theory is instantly debunked.
Even teams that are renowned for boneheaded coaching hires – the Jets and Browns – passed on a Bieniemy audition. It may not be conspiratorial or racially-motivated, but some mysterious force or cause is disallowing a wildly prolific offensive coordinator from realizing his natural progression as an NFL coach.
At some point, an NFL franchise will take the plunge – and it should have occurred by now. Forget conspiracy theories, skin color, or any other outlandish reasoning, the guy could look like an actual hobbit and still land a head-coaching gig based on his achievements to date in Kansas City.
The longer the NFL balks at his candidacy, the more curious the ordeal becomes. If the Vikings indeed make a coaching change, they can be the franchise that ends the senseless enigma beset on Bieniemy’s job search.
The Proverbial “Vikings Ties”
A hypothetical Bieniemy-to-Minnesota transaction is not based in a “maybe LeBron James will play for the Timberwolves” fantasyland. Bieniemy has a real-life connection to the Vikings. Remember the Adrian Peterson era? You do. Bieniemy was the running backs coach at the dawn of the Peterson days. Check some Adrian Peterson stats and box scores to determine if Bieniemy did okay.
Bieniemy joined Minnesota in 2006 at the beginning of Brad Childress’ tenure. He was in charge of running backs and was later promoted to assistant head coach for the ill-fated 2010 season. There is also a sentimental tie to Minnesota. The Vikings offered the Chiefs coordinator his first professional coaching gig. Before wearing purple and gold sideline attire, he coached running backs at the University of Colorado and UCLA. Minnesota handed him an NFL coaching chance – and by the way, here’s a Hall-of-Famer in Adrian Peterson.
Such connections matter in coaching relationships. The present-day Vikings ownership was the same bunch from Bieniemy’s first Vikings stint. It would not be odd for the Wilfs to approach Bieniemy if the team has a head-coaching vacancy in 2021.
The Mahomes-Reid-Bieniemy Debate
Pertaining to win and losses and his gridiron environment, Bieniemy is a lucky man. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid has finally broken through to the Super Bowl club. His Chiefs toppled the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV. Kansas City is heading back to the championship this February in, what appears to be, the continuance of a budding dynasty.
Reid can take oodles of credit for the dynastic flirtation, but some [a lot] must be parked at the doorstep of quarterback Patrick Mahomes. The Texas Tech alumnus has accomplished enough in three seasons for reasonable football heads to anoint his the greatest quarterback talent ever – at the age of 25.
Is Bieniemy affiliated with any props for the Chiefs triumphs? Not really – evidently. Should he be championed? Absolutely. Think “equal pay for equal work” vibes.
And the football Gods seem to be nudging Bieniemy toward Minnesota – at least by series of strange events.