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Former Vikings OC Bill Musgrave lands with Raiders

1/20/2015

MINNEAPOLIS -- During his three seasons as the Minnesota Vikings' offensive coordinator from 2011-13, Bill Musgrave oversaw two offenses that finished in the top half of the league in scoring despite a lack of stability at the quarterback position (and, it was argued by many, a lack of creativity by the play-caller). Musgrave's exit seemed a fait accompli when Leslie Frazier was fired after the 2013 season, but just one offseason later, he's heading to another job as a coordinator.

Musgrave will be the Oakland Raiders' new offensive coordinator, working on a staff with a significant Vikings flavor. New Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio played with the Vikings from 1992-95, and Raiders offensive line coach Mike Tice, a teammate of Del Rio's with the Vikings, was the head coach in Minnesota from 2001-05. In Oakland, Musgrave will once again be handed the task he couldn't successfully complete in Minnesota: developing a young quarterback.

Things might have gone differently for the regime that preceded Mike Zimmer if the Vikings had been able to turn Christian Ponder into a competent NFL quarterback, but Ponder's deficiencies at the position -- and the quarterback carousel they helped create in 2013 -- ultimately triggered a coaching change last winter. Now, Musgrave will be working with second-year quarterback Derek Carr, who put up the most prolific (if not the most impressive) numbers of any rookie QB in 2014.

Carr threw for 3,270 yards, 21 touchdowns and 12 interceptions this season, but there will be plenty for him to fix. He had the worst QB rating in the league on passes of 10 or more yards, according to ESPN Stats and Information. Stretching the field isn't something Musgrave's offenses did well in Minnesota -- Ponder famously averaged fewer yards per passing attempt than Adrian Peterson averaged per carry in 2012 -- but improving upon Carr's 39.7 completion percentage on throws of 10-plus yards is a good place for Musgrave to start.

Musgrave will have to hope he can develop the young quarterback if he wants his second tenure with Del Rio to end better than his first; the head coach hired Musgrave in Jacksonville in 2003, only to fire him in 2004 when the Jaguars finished 29th in the league in offense. The Vikings will make a trip to Oakland next season in what could be a battle of the two most successful rookie QBs of 2014. The last time Zimmer prepared for a Musgrave offense, the Cincinnati Bengals blew out the Vikings in a 2013 Week 16 game that effectively guaranteed the Vikings would be switching coaches after the season. The Vikings will hope for a similar result in the next meeting.