Vikings Add Dom Capers To Coaching Staff
The Minnesota Vikings announced Monday that they have added Dom Capers to the 2020 coaching staff. Capers, who most recently was with the Jacksonville Jaguars, joins the Vikings as a senior defensive assistant.
Capers will enter his 33rd season as an NFL coach in this defensive assistant role for the Vikings after serving the same role in 2019 for Jacksonville. During his year with the Jaguars, their defense was ranked fourth overall in sacks per pass play (8.3%) and tied for 13th in the NFL in defensive fourth down efficiency (45.5%).
The Vikings shared in a media release on Monday that "Under Capers' tutelage, Jaguars defensive ends Calais Campbell, Josh Allen and Yannick Ngakoue emerged as one of the NFL's best pass-rushing trios. Campbell was selected to the Pro Bowl for a third time in as many seasons and was recognized with the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year Award for his off-the-field efforts. As a rookie, Allen led the team with 10.5 sacks, the most among all NFL rookies in 2019."
Capers has extensive defensive and leadership experience, serving 25 of his 32 years as a defensive coordinator or head coach in the NFL. His last defensive coordinator role was with the Green Bay Packers from 2009 to 2017. He served as head coach for the Carolina Panthers from 1995 to 1998, reaching the NFC Championship in 1996. He also served as the Houston Texans head coach from 2002 to 2005. In all, Capers had just one winning season between those two teams, with an overall record of 49-81 as a head coach over 8 seasons, including his 1-1 postseason record.
The latest Vikings hire has also been around some not-great defensive situations in recent years. The Jaguars went from a top-5 defense in overall yards allowed in 2018 to a bottom-10 defense in 2019, while Capers was on staff. While serving as the defensive coordinator for the Packers, Capers had back-to-back top 10 defenses in 2009 and 2010, but then had several years of middle-to-bottom of the pack defensive rankings in both scoring and overall yards for most of the remainder of his time in Green Bay. Some might point out that the roster wasn't all that impressive, which could have made things harder for Capers in Green Bay. As far as the Jaguars situation goes, it was only a year, and the team was imploding on a number of levels (including their star cornerback wanting off the team), so I don't know that you can blame Capers.
With a pretty decently-stocked Vikings defensive roster (that hopefully doesn't get totally gutted as the team tries to get under the salary cap), hopefully the combination of Capers's and Zimmer's deep NFL defensive experience leads to an even more stout performance in 2020. Last season, Zimmer's defense ranked 14th in yards per game, but was a top 5 scoring defense, falling behind only the Patriots, Bills, Ravens, and Bears in total points allowed.
Capers joins defensive coaching leadership for the Vikings that includes co-defensive coordinators Adam Zimmer and Andre Patterson, as well as head coach Mike Zimmer, who is a defensively-minded coach. Capers also joins Gary Kubiak as former NFL head coaches currently on the Vikings coaching staff.