TribLIVE

| Sports

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Steelers RB coach Wilson leaving for Vikings

Steelers/NFL Videos

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Alan Robinson
Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014, 6:57 p.m.
 

Kirby Wilson is trading Le'Veon Bell for Adrian Peterson.

Wilson, the only running backs coach the Steelers have had under coach Mike Tomlin, was given permission Saturday to leave for another job, according to a source with knowledge of the move.

Wilson was passed over for the Ravens' offensive coordinator job but is expected to join new Vikings coach Mike Zimmer's staff. Wilson would succeed former running backs coach James Saxon, who was not retained by Zimmer, the former Bengals defensive coordinator.

Wilson was running backs coach in Washington in 2000 under new Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner. The Vikings have not yet announced the Wilson hiring.

Wilson, 52, had a second interview Friday for the Ravens' job, but Baltimore's finalists are receivers coach Jim Hostler and Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.

Wilson was in line to become Steelers offensive coordinator but was so badly burned in a house fire two days before a playoff loss to Denver in January 2012 that he was placed in a medically induced coma.

After Bruce Arians was let go shortly after that loss, the Steelers hired Todd Haley as offensive coordinator.

Wilson needed months of recovery before gradually easing back into his job. He had one season remaining on his current contract, so leaving required the Steelers' permission.

Under Wilson, Rashard Mendenhall had a pair of 1,000-yard seasons after being drafted in 2008, and Bell overcame several injuries this season to break Franco Harris' team record for scrimmage yards in a season.

But forced at times to use low-round draft picks or non-drafted players such as Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman, the Steelers rushed for 1,383 yards this season — their fewest since 1965, when they played only 14 games. Their 1,537 yards in 2012 were their third-fewest since the 1970 NFL merger.

Wilson is the second Steelers offensive assistant to leave since the season ended. Jack Bicknell Jr. was fired as offensive line coach after one season and was replaced by former Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak. Last year, Scottie Montgomery left the Steelers for Duke and was replaced as wide receivers coach by Richard Mann.

In Minnesota, Wilson would coach Peterson, who has 10,115 yards rushing since breaking into the league in 2007. No other NFL runner has gained even 8,000 yards.

Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at arobinson@tribweb.com or via Twitter @arobinson_Trib.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Steelers

  1. Starkey: Garoppolo baffles Steelers
  2. Tight ends’ role in Steelers passing game continues to lessen but players remain selfless
  3. Inside the Steelers: Williams’ quickness out of backfield evident in drills
  4. Steelers notebook: LB Dupree sits out backs-on–backers drill
  5. Steelers unfazed by Patriots quarterback Brady suspension saga
  6. Steelers’ Wheaton adjusting his game moving to slot receiver
  7. Steelers notebook: Rookie CB Golson still dealing with left shoulder pain
  8. Steelers RB Archer trying to catch up after tough rookie season
  9. Steelers extend head coach Tomlin’s contract through 2018 season
  10. Steelers LB Timmons has grown into leadership role on defense
  11. Steelers notebook: Backup QB Gradkowski remains out with shoulder issue