From 2017-20, the Vikings will have featured four different play-callers. But the procession from Pat Shurmur to John DeFilippo to Kevin Stefanski to now Gary Kubiak found the former Super Bowl-winning HC a bit hesitant. Kubiak stepped way from the Broncos after the 2016 season, because of health issues, and has not called plays since. But after briefly debating the move from offensive advisor to OC, the 58-year-old assistant accepted the offer to replace Stefanski, Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star Tribune notes. Kubiak has removed himself from the head-coaching market but never ruled out returning to a play-calling role. He was nearly set to resume that responsibility with the Broncos last year, but staffing issues led him to Minnesota.
Here is the latest from around the league:
- Kubiak’s latest offensive staff will see more changes this year. The Vikings are bringing in Phil Rauscher to be their new assistant offensive line coach, Goessling adds. Although Rauscher spent the past two years in Washington, he worked under Kubiak for each of his two seasons as Denver’s HC. Rauscher will replace Andrew Janocko, but the Vikings’ previous assistant O-line coach will remain on staff. Janocko will become Minnesota’s new wide receivers coach. This marks Janocko’s sixth season on Mike Zimmer‘s staff.
- The Steelers have kept Ryan Shazier on their roster for each of the past two years. That may well be the plan for 2020 as well. Owner Art Rooney II confirmed (via Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review) the Steelers “would love” to have Shazier back. The injured linebacker has worked as a mentor of sorts to the team’s young players the past two years. The Steelers have kept Shazier, 27, on their roster despite his inability to play; a league-minimum salary of $820K would likely come his way if the team uses the same arrangement in 2020. Shazier, whom GM Kevin Colbert confirmed has shown “significant improvement” in his workouts since the 2019 offseason, is not expected to be ready to play in 2020.
- The Cardinals will add a former NFL and AAF quarterback to their staff. Mike Bercovici will join Kliff Kingsbury‘s staff as an entry-level assistant, per the Arizona Republic’s Bob McManaman. Bercovici, 27, spent time with the Cards’ practice squad in 2017. The ex-Arizona State quarterback was on Herm Edwards‘ Sun Devils staff last season.
- A key CBA-related meeting will be pushed back. The NFLPA meeting where a potential vote on the owners’ CBA proposal will now occur Friday instead of Thursday, Josina Anderson of ESPN.com tweets. The Washington D.C. summit represents a step toward a potential CBA ratification, but a few substantial hurdles remain — such as the players accepting the owners’ 17-game schedule proposal.