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Vikings assistants McCardell and Daniels attending NFL Coach Accelerator Program


By Craig Peters

The NFL will hold its Spring League Meeting next week in Minnesota, and two Vikings assistants — receivers coach Keenan McCardell and Special Teams Coordinator Matt Daniels — have been selected to participate in a Coach Accelerator program from May 21-23.

The Coach Accelerator aims to increase exposure between owners, executives and diverse coaching talent, providing ample opportunity to develop and build upon their relationships. In a change to the nomination process this year, clubs were able to nominate those from outside of their organization, which promotes recognition and growth beyond one's current club.

The program is a continuation of promoting greater diversity across the NFL and follows the inaugural Coach and Front Office Accelerator that was hosted last May in Atlanta and the Front Office Accelerator hosted by Dallas last December.

McCardell and Daniels are two of 40 participants selected this year.

McCardell has guided Vikings receivers since 2021 and first began coaching in the NFL in 2010 with Washington. He played the position for five different franchises from 1991-2007 after entering the NFL as a 12th-round pick out of UNLV by Washington in 1991. McCardell has helped Justin Jefferson boost his stats in each of the past two seasons, including 2022 when Jefferson led the league in receptions and receiving yards.

Daniels joined the Vikings in 2022 in his first year as a coordinator. He had been an assistant special teams coach with the Los Angeles Rams from 2018-19 and with the Dallas Cowboys from 2020-21. Daniels, a safety and special teamer who entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of Duke, played six games for the Rams and one for the Chargers (2015). He transitioned to coaching as a graduate assistant at Colorado in 2017.

The 40 participants this year are attending based on their high potential to be considered for a head coach position in the future. Sixteen of the participants will be returning from the May 2022 Accelerator cohort.

Leslie Frazier, former Vikings defensive coordinator and head coach, is among the participants this year, along with former assistants Jerrod Johnson (now with Texans) and Jerry Gray (now with Falcons).

In addition to networking, further development of the participants is a critical component of the accelerator, with curated content sessions scheduled that will further engage each participant on the advancement of their executive leadership skills.

"In the year since its inception, we've been encouraged by the positive response to the Accelerator from both club owners and participants," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement."We look forward to continuing to build on an incredible program that supports diverse talent."