Vikings Coach Takes Leave of Absence, Replaced by Former Browns HC

Defensive coach Mike Smith is taking a leave of absence, as reported by Alec Lewis of The Athletic.

Vikings coach Mike Smith is on leave. Mike Pettine and Imarjaye Albury will be working together temporarily.

Smith joined the franchise in 2022 after 3 years with the Green Bay Packers. He knows Pettine from their time in Green Bay and with the New York Jets. 

Kevin O'Connell, former Jets quarterback, is now the head coach, according to the Vikings' website.

Smith played a key role in recruiting Za'Darius Smith and Danielle Hunter, who both became Pro Bowlers in 2022 with a total of 20.5 sacks.

Pettine, Minnesota's assistant head coach, has 21 years of NFL experience. He coached the Cleveland Browns for two seasons (2014-15), with a record of 10-22.

Albury has been a defensive assistant for Minnesota since 2020. He worked as a defensive quality control/assistant linebackers coach for two seasons. 

Coach Kevin O'Connell greets linebacker Marcus Davenport before a preseason game in August 2023.

Minnesota's defense had 38 sacks last season, ranking 21st in the NFL, despite having two Pro Bowl outside linebackers. 

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