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AP source: Vikings make Gary Kubiak offensive coordinator

Thu Jan 23 2:01pm ET
By DAVE CAMPBELL
AP Pro Football Writer

Players: Kirk Cousins, Stefon Diggs, Dalvin Cook

Gary Kubiak speaks to reporters Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019 in Eagan, Minn. Kubiak was expected to return to the sideline this season as Denver's offensive coordinator, but after that spot with the Broncos fell through he landed with the Minnesota Vikings NFL football team as an associate coach with the aim of helping the Vikings produce a stronger offense in 2019. (AP Photo/Dave Campbell)


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The Minnesota Vikings have chosen Gary Kubiak as their offensive coordinator, filling the vacancy created by Kevin Stefanski's departure to become head coach of the Cleveland Browns.

The widely expected move was confirmed Thursday by a person with knowledge of the decision who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the club had not yet made the announcement. Kubiak was as an offensive adviser and assistant to head coach Mike Zimmer this season, as the Vikings reached the divisional round of the playoffs.

Kubiak's playbook, as directed by Stefanski in his first full season on the job, provided a clear boost for quarterback Kirk Cousins and the offense. The Vikings were eighth in the league with an average of 25.4 points a game, after ranking 19th in 2018.

''I like the scheme,'' Zimmer said last week. ''I like the continuity that we have offensively with the coaches, and I feel like if we add a couple more pieces and continue to work on the execution of staying with the same play calls, the same system, the same motions and formations and things like that, it'll definitely help the offensive players.''

Kubiak's arrival in 2019 gave Zimmer - who is 57-38-1 in the regular season and 2-3 in the playoffs in six years with the Vikings - a trusted veteran voice and a valuable offensive perspective to complement his defensive acumen. The 58-year-old Kubiak was an NFL head coach for 10 seasons, his time with both the Houston Texans and Denver Broncos shortened by health problems. He has also been an offensive coordinator for 12 years.

The Vikings a year ago hired his son, Klint Kubiak, as quarterbacks coach and two longtime colleagues - Rick Dennison (offensive line coach and running game coordinator) and Brian Pariani (tight ends coach).

Their zone blocking scheme was a good fit for a mobile offensive line in front of running back Dalvin Cook, who stayed healthy enough to make his first Pro Bowl. The emphasis on play-action and rollout passes and frequent use of two-tight end formations helped Cousins play to his strengths and produce a career-best season. Wide receiver Stefon Diggs was frustrated at times by a decreased number of throws that came his way. But he set career highs in yards per game (75.3) and yards per catch (17.9), the latter tied for fourth in the league.

After serving as Denver's backup quarterback behind Pro Football Hall of Fame member John Elway on three AFC title-winning teams, Kubiak broke into NFL coaching as quarterbacks coach for the Super Bowl champion San Francisco 49ers in the 1994-95 season. He was offensive coordinator for the Broncos for the next 11 years, winning two more Super Bowls along the way, before becoming head coach in Houston.

Kubiak suffered a mini-stroke during a game there in 2013, leading to his departure. He returned to the Broncos as head coach in 2015 and promptly won another Super Bowl. He was hospitalized again in 2016 because of a complex migraine condition that caused extreme fatigue and announced his retirement at the end of that season. He spent the next two years as a personnel adviser for the Broncos, primarily analyzing draft prospects.

Player Notes
D.J. Moore Oct 21 9:40pm ET

Carolina Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore should best be viewed as a low-end WR2 for this week. Moore hasn't been the most productive receiver for Carolina this season as Robby Anderson has emerged into a top option. Nevertheless, Moore's role is still decent as he has seen at least four targets in each game. There is no reason to discount the WR's value completely as he has still gotten over 90 yards in three games as well. That's enough to give him starting value against a New Orleans defense allowing the 11th-most points to fantasy WRs.

From RotoBaller

Curtis Samuel Oct 21 9:40pm ET

Carolina Panthers wide receiver Curtis Samuel is currently dealing with a knee injury and his status for Week 7 remains unclear. Samuel also missed Week 6. The WR has offered very modest value in the passing and rushing game this season, getting no more than 51 receiving yards and 28 rushing yards in any contest. Even if he's active, there are certainly better flex options for this week.

From RotoBaller

New York Giants Oct 21 9:40pm ET

The New York Giants Defense has been better in recent weeks and has another good matchup in Week 7 with a Thursday night matchup with a banged-up Eagles offense. Philadelphia is missing starters across the offensive line and skill positions, and will face the challenge of playing on a short week. Led by cornerback James Bradberry, whose shut down play on the outside has taken away opposing number-one receivers, the Giants are a startable unit in fantasy at Philadelphia.

From RotoBaller

Ian Thomas Oct 21 9:40pm ET

Carolina Panthers tight end Ian Thomas is well off the fantasy radar heading into Week 7. The TE has only gotten three receptions for 14 yards and a score on seven targets in the past three games. His role is simply not large enough for him to merit good fantasy value.

From RotoBaller

Evan Engram Oct 21 9:30pm ET

New York Giants tight end Evan Engram is off to a disappointing start to the season, but draws another favorable matchup in Week 7. Philadelphia allows the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season, though it may not matter as Engram has not taken advantage of other favorable matchups. Engram has not found the end zone this season and has just one game with more than 35 yards. New York completed just 12 passes last week so it's hard to trust anyone in this pass offense. Engram is a risky starter, but does possess upside and can be started in deeper formats.

From RotoBaller

Robby Anderson Oct 21 9:30pm ET

Carolina Panthers wide receiver Robby Anderson is a WR2 this week against New Orleans. Anderson has emerged as the top target for Teddy Bridgewater this season and already has three 100-yard games. He has also seen at least four receptions and five targets in all six games. Given the increasing rapport with Bridgewater along with a large role in this offense, Anderson is a solid starter against a Saints team allowing the 11th-most points to fantasy WRs.

From RotoBaller

Teddy Bridgewater Oct 21 9:20pm ET

Carolina Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is a QB2 for this week against the Saints. From a fantasy perspective, the QB has been mostly mediocre aside from Week 5 against the Falcons and overall has six passing touchdowns to five interceptions thus far. Though the Saints allow the fourth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks, Bridgewater hasn't proven that he can be an explosive fantasy option. Only consider him in two-QB leagues for this week but there are certainly better options based on matchup.

From RotoBaller

Mike Davis Oct 21 9:20pm ET

Carolina Panthers running back Mike Davis is a low-end RB1 this week against the Saints. Davis is coming off a modest week in which he had 52 rushing yards and three receiving yards. Nevertheless, the volume is there in both the rushing and passing game, as he has seen at least 13 carries and anywhere from three to 10 targets in the past four games. The Saints allow the 11th-most points to fantasy RBs, giving Davis a generally favorable matchup.

From RotoBaller

Golden Tate Oct 21 9:10pm ET

New York Giants wide receiver Golden Tate is coming off his worst performance of the season last week and will look to bounce-back versus Philadelphia. In Week 6, Tate caught just one pass for 11 yards as the New York offense was stuck in neutral most of the game. Tate is yet to have more than five catches in a game this season and is yet to eclipse the 50-yard mark or score a touchdown. Most fantasy managers should be able to find a better WR option on the waiver wire.

From RotoBaller

Richard Sherman Oct 21 9:03pm ET

San Francisco 49ers CB Richard Sherman (calf) isn't expected to return to the field until closer to the team's Week 11 bye, according to head coach Kyle Shanahan Wednesday, Oct. 21. 'Now he's in a boot just taking care of it, making sure it heals and let those take course,' Shanahan said. 'I thought it would be, I'd have more answers this week, but I still think it's going to be a few weeks on that. ... It's obviously going a little longer than we expected. (We've) got to play it smart with him, but I don't see it being week-to-week right now. I see it being probably until around our Bye week.'

From TheHuddle

Darius Slayton Oct 21 9:00pm ET

New York Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton has been the best receiving option in New York this season and will look to continue his success versus the Eagles in Week 7. In their first matchup last season, Slayton torched Philadelphia for 154 yards and two touchdowns. The Auburn Tiger was quieter in their second meeting, but has had had splash performances this season including a two-touchdown game and two 100-yard efforts. While Slayton has had his ups, he has had quiet games as well and will draw the coverage of Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay in this matchup. The Giants only completed 12 passes last week so there is risk in starting Slayton, but he does have big-game upside as a WR3.

From RotoBaller

Devonta Freeman Oct 21 8:50pm ET

New York Giants running back Devonta Freeman has seen his workload increase in each week with the team since signing after Week 2. Freeman has been the clear lead-back for Big Blue, but faces a quick turnaround this week with a Thursday night game against the Eagles. Freeman handled 17 and 18 touches in the past two games and has reached 60 yards in each game. Neither Wayne Gallman nor Dion Lewis handled a carry last week but could be more involved with the Thursday matchup this week. Philadelphia gives up the eighth-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. Freeman is startable as a flex based on his volume, but does carry some risk in Week 7.

From RotoBaller

Tyler Lockett Oct 21 8:43pm ET

Seattle Seahawks WR Tyler Lockett (non-injury) received a 'load management' day Wednesday, Oct. 21, and didn't participate in practice.

Fantasy Spin: Nothing to see here. Make sure Lockett is in your lineups for Week 7.

From TheHuddle

DeAndre Hopkins Oct 21 8:33pm ET

Arizona Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins (ankle) did not participate at practice Wednesday, Oct. 21.

Fantasy Spin: Hopkins caught just two of eight targets but still racked up 73 yards against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 6. The blowout victory allowed for a little extra rest, as he played just 77 percent of the offensive snaps, and he should be good to go by later this week.

From TheHuddle

Jordan Hicks Oct 21 8:33pm ET

Arizona Cardinals OL Kelvin Beachum (ankle) and DE Jordan Phillips (foot) didn't participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 21. LB Kylie Fitts (hamstring) and LB Dennis Gardeck (foot) were limited. S Budda Baker (thumb) and LB Jordan Hicks (wrist) practiced in full.

From TheHuddle

Carlos Hyde Oct 21 8:33pm ET

Seattle Seahawks RB Carlos Hyde (shoulder) was limited at practice Wednesday, Oct. 21.

Fantasy Spin: Hyde hasn't played since Week 3 and has a total of just 16 carries on the season. He's purely a handcuff for Chris Carson but should be rostered for that reason.

From TheHuddle

Ezekiel Elliott Oct 21 8:30pm ET

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has lost four fumbles this season after losing just five in the first four years of his career, and his giveaways this year have turned into 28 points for the opposition. Elliott has more fumbles lost in 133 carries than all nine of the league's top-10 rushers combined in 1,104 touches, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Head coach Mike McCarthy said Elliott might have to prioritize ball security over fighting for extra yards to correct the issue. Dallas has 15 turnovers on the year and are an NFL-worst minus-12 in turnover differential. Despite the 25-year-old's fumbling issues and the fact that he hasn't had a 100-yard rushing game yet, he remains a must-start, high-end RB1 because he'll remain firmly in the game plan with quarterback Dak Prescott (ankle) out for the year. Elliott has six total touchdowns and 32 catches through six weeks and should rebound in Week 7 against Washington.

From RotoBaller

Michael Thomas Oct 21 8:20pm ET

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas (ankle, hamstring) was listed as a limited participant in practice on Wednesday with ankle and hamstring injuries. The hamstring injury is new and is something to watch, but Thomas' high ankle sprain is what has kept him out of action since the season-opener. It was believed that the All-Pro wideout would return in Week 5 before the team's bye, but the Saints sat him for disciplinary reasons after he punched a teammate in practice. Unless the 27-year-old has a setback this week, he should make his return against Carolina in Week 7. The Panthers Defense has allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to wideouts this year, but Thomas is a target hog and reception machine and is a must-start, high-end WR1 if he's active.

From RotoBaller

Jacksonville Jaguars Oct 21 8:20pm ET

Defensive end Aaron Lynch has unretired and has been reinstated to the Jacksonville Jaguars exempt list on Wednesday. Lynch must go through five days of COVID-19 testing before he's eligible to return to the team's facilities. He signed a one-year contract with the team in May but retired on Aug. 18 due to personal reasons. Nose tackle Al Woods and linebacker Lerentee McCray both opted out of the season, and defensive end/tackle Rodney Gunter (heart) has been out, so Lynch's return will give Jacksonville some much-needed depth on that side of the ball. Lynch has 20 sacks and 10 pass breakups in 73 career games with the 49ers and Bears. The Jaguars Defense is well off the fantasy radar, however, ranking 31st out of 32 NFL defenses in fantasy points.

From RotoBaller

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Oct 21 8:00pm ET

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defense is a solid streaming option this week against the Raiders. In a highly anticipated matchup between Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers last week, the Tampa defense stole the show and got after Rodgers all day, compiling five sacks and two picks. Though the Raiders are a capable offense, the Bucs' defense can generate turnovers and put immense pressure on the QB. After that encouraging and dominant performance last week, they are a great starting option for this week.

From RotoBaller