NFL's minority coaches meet with league executives through league's Accelerator Program

The Minnesota Vikings are busy at work at TCO Performance Center in Eagan during the first full week of organized team activities.

But just across the facility, there’s equally as much work going on at the NFL owner’s meetings as coaches like Vikings special teams coordinator Matt Daniels and wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell prepare for their futures.

"I would say exposure leads to expansion. I think that’s a real and true statement," Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores said.

That’s also one way to describe the NFL’s Accelerator Program, which helps put minority coaches in front of owners and executives. 

"It was a great, great time in our speed dating, like Matt said," McCardell said. "It was a great time because you’ve got a chance to date this one, date this one and you kind of see the difference in what this team is like and that team is like."

For McCardell and Daniels, they embraced the opportunity to not only get in front of team officials, but other talented minority coaches across the NFL.

"Maybe half of them you might know and the others you’re itching to get to know too because you never know what position they could end up in and so that connection is going to be huge because at the end of the day this is a relationship business," Daniels said.

Daniels and McCardell agree in that the key to these meetings with owners and executives is to just be yourself.

"The NFL is about putting the best product on the fieild," Daniels said.

And Daniels said that includes coaches.

"You just got to be so good that they can’t deny you," Daniels said.

For McCardell, he was open about wanting to be a head coach one day. He admits the path to the top looks a lot easier that it did when he was playing.

"It’s easier, but it’s not where we want it and that’s why we have the accelerated program and the diversity… It’s getting there," McCardell said.

He hopes every minority coach who’s deserving of moving up gets that opportunity. In the meantime, he says coaches like him will continue to sacrifice for those coming after them. 

"Right now for the minority coaches, you may be taking the lump for the future," McCardell said.

Both coaches raved about the opportunity they had this week, and how it opened their eyes of what that interview process is like and how they can better prepare themselves for when that time comes. Hopefully one day, they’ll both get the jobs they’ve dreamed of.