CLEVELAND — Dating back to his college career at Oklahoma, Baker Mayfield has drawn comparisons to Brett Favre.
So perhaps it's somewhat fitting that in hiring their new head coach, the Cleveland Browns turned to a man who's no stranger to the Hall of Fame signal-caller.
While Favre's two-season stint with the Minnesota Vikings in 2009 and 2010 may have been short-lived, it coincided with Kevin Stefanski's rise as an assistant. In both years that Favre spent in Minnesota, Stefanski served as the team's assistant quarterbacks coach and suffice to say, the former Penn defensive back left quite an impression on the 3-time MVP.
"I really like Kevin," Favre during an appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio, per 247Sports, after Stefanski was promoted to the Vikings' offensive coordinator position in 2018. "I thought he was one of those young really bright minds."
According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the Browns will hire Stefanski to be their new head coach following his one-season stint as the Vikings' offensive coordinator. Now 37-years-old, Stefanski had spent his entire NFL coaching career as an assistant from Minnesota, rising from assistant to the head coach to the team's top offensive play-caller.
As noted by Favre, Stefanski's age often meant coaching players older than him-- including the then-40-year-old Favre. But that didn't stop him from standing out or sticking on the Vikings' staff through three head coaching changes.
"The players really loved him. Now, at that time, most of the guys were older than him," Favre said. "He’s definitely paid his dues."
In hiring Stefanski, the Browns are hoping that the longtime assistant can replicate his success from this past season, in which the Vikings ranked eighth in the NFL in scoring and 10th in points per play. In particular, Cleveland's new head coach will be tasked with helping engineer a bounce-back season from Mayfield, who ranked 31st in the league with a 78.8 passer rating in 2019.
Meanwhile, Stefanski's most recent quarterback, Kirk Cousins, ranked fourth with a 107.4 passer rating, as well as fourth in completion percentage (69.1), seventh in yards per attempt (8.1) and eighth in touchdowns (26). Over the course of his 14 seasons in Minnesota, Stefanski has worked with plenty of signal-callers -- including the one, in Favre, who might make for Mayfield's best-case scenario.