Todd Downing looks set for a homecoming venture. The recently dismissed Raiders offensive coordinator has landed a job with the Vikings, with Adam Caplan of ESPN.com reporting (on Twitter) he will serve as a senior offensive assistant and passing-game specialist.
Not only did the Vikings give Downing his first NFL opportunity, as an intern in 2001 when the future OC was just 21, but Downing is an Eden Prairie, Minn., native. The Vikings’ facility being located in Eden Prairie makes this a logical move for the 37-year-old assistant to rebound from a one-and-done stint as the Raiders’ OC.
Downing served as Oakland’s quarterbacks coach prior to ascending to OC in 2017, but the Raiders underwhelmed last season and turned back to Jon Gruden. Downing will join new OC John DeFilippo and QBs coach Kevin Stefanski as key staffers involved with Minnesota’s aerial attack. With each of these coaches under 40, and Mike Zimmer being a defensive-minded HC, the Vikings will have young voices in charge of their offense.
The Bears interviewed Downing in January for their QBs job but went in another direction. Downing’s work helping Derek Carr ascend to the position of MVP candidate in 2016 led to him becoming the Raiders’ OC. The Raiders proceeded to plummet from the No. 6 offense, their finish in 2016 under Bill Musgrave, to No. 17 during Downing’s year overseeing the unit.
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