Vikings hire former Purdue coach Darrell Hazell as WRs coach

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Vikings filled the final spot on their coaching staff for 2017 with former Purdue head coach Darrell Hazell, who will coach the team's wide receivers.

Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said Friday morning that Hazell, who was fired by Purdue in October, had no connection to anyone on the team's coaching staff before the interview process. But as the Vikings looked for a replacement for George Stewart after his exit to become Los Angeles Chargers special teams coordinator, Hazell ascended to the top of their list during the interview process.

"I knew of him, but nobody on our staff had worked with him," Shurmur said. "As we sat down and visited with him, we just felt like he's a guy who could come in and teach our receivers extremely well."

Hazell, who was at Purdue from 2013-16, was the Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year at Kent State in 2012 and spent seven seasons coaching wide receivers at Ohio State under Jim Tressel. During his time with the Buckeyes, Hazell coached first-round picks Santonio Holmes, Ted Ginn and Anthony Gonzalez as well as second-round pick Brian Robiskie and fourth-rounder Brian Hartline.

He is taking his first job in the NFL after spending the last 31 years as a college coach.