Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer believes Pat Shurmur will be “successful” if he gets the Giants head coaching job.
PHILADELPHIA — He may not be their first, second or third choice, but if the Giants name Pat Shurmur their next head coach, the man who currently employs him in Minnesota believes he’ll do a fine job.
Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer, on a conference call with reporters before his team takes on the Eagles in the NFC Championship, gave his current offensive coordinator quite the vote of confidence.
“I think, if he gets an opportunity,” Zimmer said, “I think he’ll be successful.”
The Giants can’t officially hire Shurmur until next week, when either the Vikings are eliminated from the playoffs, or have a week off before preparing for the Super Bowl. But considering Josh McDaniels is likely headed to the Colts, Matt Patricia to the Lions, and Steve Wilks is staying in Carolina, he’s the guy general manager Dave Gettleman and owner John Mara have zeroed in on.
Shurmur is a seasoned assistant with some experience as a head coach. He led the Browns for two years (2011-2012), and the Eagles for a week after the team fired Chip Kelly (2015). While a brilliant offensive mind, Shurmur’s struggles in Cleveland (9-23 record) have left a bad taste in the mouthes of many.
Zimmer isn’t among them. He said Shurmur’s “earned the right” to be a head coach again. His success running the Vikings offense in 2017 a big reason why.
Despite losing quarterback Sam Bradford and star rookie running back Dalvin Cook to season-ending injuries, Minnesota finished 11th in yards per game (356.9) and 10th in points (23.9). Case Keenum, a career journeyman, threw for 3,547 yards, 22 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. He had a completion percentage of 67.6, and a quarterback rating of 98.3.
The Vikings also received impressive offensive contributions from running backs Latavius Murray (842 rushing yards, six touchdowns) and Jerick McKinnon (991 total yards), and receivers Adam Thielen (91 catches, 1,276 yards, four touchdowns) and Stefon Diggs (64 catches, 849 yards, eight touchdowns).
If he gets the Giants job, he’ll have a chance to play with Odell Beckham Jr., Evan Engram, Eli Manning … and whoever the team selects with the No. 2 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
“I was able to compete against Pat a few times when he was the head coach in Cleveland,” Zimmer said. “I always thought his schemes did a good job. He’s a smart guy. He has a good relationship with players. He’s done an outstanding job this year.”