The Minnesota Vikings are the winners of their first game, a 36-17 blowout victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. As for Jim Harbaugh and his odd brand of coaching? They’re not feeling as confident in him anymore

The “jim harbaugh vikings” is a question that has been asked in the Minnesota Vikings. The team will be better off without Jim Harbaugh and his odd brand of coaching.

The Minnesota Vikings Will Be Better off Without Jim Harbaugh and His Odd Brand of Coaching

Jim Harbaugh was nearly hired by the Minnesota Vikings. Instead, after a nearly 10-hour meeting, new general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah chose to send Harbaugh back to Ann Arbor with his hat in hand.

While the Vikings might be better off not bringing the Harbaugh circus to town, incoming head coach Kevin O’Connell is an unknown since this would be his first head coaching job.

Jim Harbaugh is a strange and old-school coach. ahRYfPtM

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It’s not breaking news to say that Harbaugh is a somewhat odd character. He has a quirky and sometimes even abrasive personality, but that’s arguably what has made him endearing as a college football coach, where spectacle and bravado are king. From having a sleepover at a recruit’s house to critiquing chickens for being a nervous bird, Harbaugh has a strange personality that probably rubs his superiors the wrong way, but it plays well on the recruiting trail. 

Since Harbaugh took over in 2015, the Wolverines have had a lot of success in recruiting thanks to his gravity and eccentricity, as well as the Michigan brand.

The challenge for a coach in the NFL like Harbaugh is that charisma only takes you so far. Coaches in the NFL in 2021 are likely to be a mix of schematic geniuses and analytics experts. When you have a key divisional game against the Green Bay Packers coming up and haven’t defeated them in a few seasons, press conferences about milk don’t work as well.

Harbaugh’s philosophy is perhaps a little too old school for today’s NFL. The league is presently all-in on analytics and the passing game, and it is being led by young and inventive coaches. Meanwhile, Harbaugh’s favorite offense seems to have been popular when players wore leather helmets. It works at Michigan and in the Big Ten, where tradition and hammering the football are paramount. 

In the NFL, it wouldn’t work. 

For the Michigan Wolverines, Harbaugh has been a disappointment.

Jim Harbaugh, Michigan Wolverines

Jim Harbaugh, Michigan Wolverines During the first half against the Ohio State Buckeyes, Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh debates a decision on the sideline | Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Harbaugh is a well-known figure who has already seen some success, so he receives a lot of attention. With that said, he’s been lackluster throughout his stint as Michigan’s head coach, and the stats prove it. 

He was hired by the Wolverines to be the football team’s savior. He was a native of Michigan. He was a member of Bo Schembechler’s team. He was their quarterback before moving on to the NFL.

When Harbaugh was hired, the assumption was that he would rapidly have Michigan vying not just for Big Ten titles, but also for national titles. The Wolverines won the Big Ten and advanced to the College Football Playoffs this season, although that conference title and the victory against Ohio State were Harbaugh’s first significant victories at Ann Arbor.

Sure, he’s 61-24 overall, but he’s struggled to prepare his squad for important games against ranked opponents, particularly on the road.

Despite the victory against Ohio State, Harbaugh is still 1-5 versus the Buckeyes. His victory versus Michigan’s fiercest opponent this season was his first. When it comes to rivalries, Harbaugh has a 3-4 record versus the Spartans from Michigan State. This includes a 0-2 record against Mel Tucker, the new MSU head coach.

To make matters worse, Harbaugh is 0-5 in bowl games at Michigan. As a head coach at the collegiate level, he is 2-6 in bowl games.

He comes with a lot of anticipation, but aside of this past season, he hasn’t done much at Michigan. Why might Minnesota’s fortunes change in the NFL?

For the Minnesota Vikings, Kevin O’Connell makes more sense.

Jim Harbaugh, not head coach of the Minnesota Vikings

Jim Harbaugh, not head coach of the Minnesota Vikings Before the game against the Iowa Hawkeyes, Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh | Matthew Holst/Getty Images

O’Connell has no prior experience as a head coach, and his play-calling ability is dubious. He spent the previous two seasons with the Los Angeles Rams as offensive coordinator under Sean McVay. That means that, although he’s been an important component of the Rams offense, he’s played second fiddle to McVay, the play-caller. In 2019, he was the offensive coordinator for the Washington Redskins, but his offense was the lowest in the league, averaging just 16.6 points per game.

On the bright side, O’Connell hasn’t been named yet since he’ll be coaching in the Super Bowl. The Vikings will surely benefit from having a new head coach with that level of expertise. There’s also no denying that the league has been heading toward the attacking side of the ball for years, and it may be reaching its pinnacle.

McVay is ready to coach in his second Super Bowl in as many seasons, and he’ll be facing Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Zac Taylor. Taylor is a young offensive-minded coach who served as McVay’s quarterback coach last season. McVay’s offensive coordinator in 2017 was Matt LaFleur of the Green Bay Packers, and he’s had unprecedented success with the Packers in his first three seasons. Nathaniel Hackett, his assistant, was just appointed as the first-time head coach of the Denver Broncos. For the previous three seasons, he has served as Green Bay’s offensive coordinator. 

Do you need any other examples? 

Kliff Kingsbury was hired by the Arizona Cardinals solely for his offensive skills. Before taking over in Cleveland, Kevin Stefanski was an offensive coordinator. Andy Reid’s success with Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs is evident. Reid may be old school, but he is one of the NFL’s original offensive masterminds.

There’s no denying that the NFL is all about offense right now, and O’Connell fits the model of previous coaching appointments.

Harbaugh, on the other hand, would be heading in the exact other way. The Vikings would zig as the rest of the team zagged. While staying with the old guard may be helpful at times, all indications are that hiring a young, offensive-minded head coach who is aggressive, ambitious, and imaginative will get you farther ahead.

It’s a risk, to be sure, but hiring a new coach is always a bet. Employing an eccentric and unsuccessful head coach with a history of destroying bridges would have been a bigger risk for the Vikings.

By not hiring Harbaugh, the Vikings made the correct decision.

ESPN and Pro Football Reference provided the statistics. Spotrac provides contract information.

RELATED: Jim Harbaugh Shuts the Door on an NFL Return Once and for All After Vikings’ Mishap, But Can We Buy It?

The “vikings news jim harbaugh” is a topic that has been trending. The Minnesota Vikings are better off without Jim Harbaugh and his odd brand of coaching.

Frequently Asked Questions

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