A makeover of the Vikings offensive coaching staff began in earnest Monday with the addition of a Super Bowl-winning coach.
Gary Kubiak, the 57-year-old former Texans and Broncos head coach, was hired as assistant head coach and offensive advisor to coach Mike Zimmer, the team announced.
Kubiak is being joined by his son, Klint, as quarterbacks coach. Klint Kubiak, 31, served as Vikings quality control and assistant receivers coach in 2013-14.
Gary Kubiak is a veteran play caller and offensive schemer who won Super Bowl 50 as the Broncos coach after the 2015 season. Kubiak stepped down following the 2016 season because of health reasons and remained on Denver’s staff as a personnel consultant.
The Vikings also will have new veteran leadership in the offensive line and tight end meeting rooms. The team announced Brian Pariani will coach tight ends. Meanwhile, Rick Dennison is being targeted to coach the offensive line, according to a league source. Both Dennison, 60, and Pariani, 53, have worked with Gary Kubiak at multiple stops.
Reports surfaced midseason about Kubiak’s interest to return to coaching as a coordinator. Longtime Vikings assistant Kevin Stefanski, 36, was named offensive coordinator last week. Zimmer sought to fill a leadership void created by last summer’s death of Tony Sparano, a veteran offensive line coach and run game planner.
The Vikings ranked 19th in scoring in 2018. Gary Kubiak oversaw four top-10 scoring offenses in eight seasons as the Texans coach.
The moves leave unclear futures for assistants Clancy Barone and Todd Downing, who coached the Vikings offensive line and tight ends last season following Sparano’s death. Barone was Kubiak’s offensive line coach in Denver in 2015 and ’16. Downing joined the Vikings as a senior offensive assistant a year ago under former coordinator John DeFilippo.
Kubiak’s own path took a turn in recent days. He had reportedly agreed to become Broncos offensive coordinator under newly hired coach Vic Fangio, but the agreement fell apart over philosophical differences and Kubiak’s desire to rehire former Denver assistants Dennison and Pariani.
Pariani was Kubiak’s tight ends coach in Houston, Baltimore and Denver. He has not coached the past two NFL seasons since he was fired by the Broncos in 2017. Dennison is a former coordinator (Broncos 2015-16, Bills 2017) who led the Jets offensive line and run game in 2018.
As a player, Kubiak was John Elway’s backup at quarterback in Denver after being an eighth-round choice in 1983 out of Texas A&M. He was on the losing end of three Super Bowls.
Kubiak started his coaching career as running backs coach at his alma mater before becoming quarterbacks coach for the Super Bowl champion San Francisco 49ers in 1994. He was Broncos offensive coordinator from 1995 to 2005, with two more Super Bowl titles in the 1997 and ’98 seasons.
The Texans hired him in 2006 and he was 63-66 over eight years, including 2-2 in the playoffs. In November 2013, he collapsed on the field during a game against Indianapolis after suffering what was diagnosed as a transient ischemic attack — a mini-stroke.
He served 2014 as Ravens offensive coordinator before Elway, now the Broncos general manager, hired him as coach, with Denver beating Carolina in the Super Bowl in February 2016. That October, Kubiak was hospitalized after a loss to Atlanta because of what was called “a complex migraine condition” that caused him fatigue. He skipped the Broncos’ following game and retired after the season.
Klint Kubiak was quarterbacks coach for the Broncos for the past three seasons. He was a QB at Colorado State before starting his coaching career in 2010 at Texas A&M.