Vikings Rumors: Packers' Nathaniel Hackett to Interview for HC Job After Zimmer Fired

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 16, 2022

Green Bay Packers oeensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett is seen before an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns Saturday, Dec. 25, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)
AP Photo/Matt Ludtke

The Minnesota Vikings interviewed Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett for their head coaching vacancy, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

Rapoport reported this was the Vikings' first formal interview with a candidate following the firing of Mike Zimmer. This was also Hackett's fourth interview of the current hiring cycle.

The Packers have a bye for the opening round of the NFL playoffs, which allowed Hackett more time to pursue any coaching vacancies.

The 42-year-old first said he planned to speak with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Denver Broncos and Chicago Bears have subsequently announced they interviewed him as well.

This is Hackett's third season with the Packers. Green Bay has finished eighth, first and second in offensive efficiency over that span, per Football Outsiders.

The Washington Post's Nicki Jhabvala profiled the son of longtime NFL assistant Paul Hackett and wrote how he combined the requisite knowledge of the game with a quirky persona. Blake Bortles, who played under Hackett with the Packers and Jacksonville Jaguars, told Jhabvala the coach would emulate Justin Timberlake on the headset when calling a play inspired by the music star.

Aaron Rodgers added that Hackett has "infectious energy" and goes above and beyond to keep players engaged during video sessions.

The Vikings would be counting on Hackett to elevate an offense that often wasn't equal to the sum of its parts in 2021. He'd also have to maximize what could be Kirk Cousins' last year in Minnesota.

Cousins carries a $45 million salary cap hit in 2022, which will make it almost impossible for the team to move the two-time Pro Bowler. If Hackett can't help Cousins hit a new level, then he'll likely need to help identify and develop a new franchise quarterback come 2023.

Hackett's resume makes him an obvious target and a logical choice if he ultimately lands the job.