EAGAN, Minn. -- John DeFilippo joined the Minnesota Vikings in the offseason after two seasons as the Philadelphia Eagles quarterbacks coach. DeFilippo helped Philadelphia beat Minnesota in the NFC championship game before eventually winning the Super Bowl.
Now as the Vikings' offensive coordinator, DeFilippo will face the Eagles this week with his new team. But it's also a reunion of sorts as he returns to where he grew up. DeFilippo talked to reporters on Thursday about what his return means to him.
"Yeah, I'm human, you know, it will be," DeFilippo said of an emotional return. "And not just because of the Eagles thing. A lot of people don't know that I went to high school in Philadelphia and my dad was the athletic director at Villanova. So I spent my formable years in Philly and was kind of in the middle of the Philly sports scene with my dad, so yeah, with my high school there and my high school buddies and all that, but once the game starts, it's going to be like any other game. But I have nothing but respect for everyone there in that building. Just like this building, there's some really phenomenal people, coaches, players, ownership, personnel in that building and it's a first-class place, no doubt."
DeFilippo was asked about the memories of his childhood, which included attending Eagles' games and watching Shawn Bradley play for the Philadelphia 76ers.
"Those are the memories you have," He said. "You're 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 years old, you're around these guys, you're rubbing elbows with the guys from the 76ers, including my dad, the Eagles, you're getting to go to training camp as a kid, and then to be working there was kind of surreal, to be quite honest with you. The first time you walk into the building you're like 'whoa,' it's like your hometown team. I haven't thought about it that much, to be quite honest with you, just because you're so busy grinding for the game, but yeah, I have very fond memories of not only Philly, but the Eagles."
DeFilippo talked about Eagles coach Doug Pederson.
"He's great, he's great," DeFilippo said. "And there's two things that coach does that I really learned from him. No. 1, don't be afraid to think outside the box. Stay aggressive, he's an aggressive guy, aggressive play caller. And No. 3, he really trusted his assistant coaches, and if he gave you a job to do, he let you do your job and he trusted you to do your job, and if you were doing your job, he let you run with it, take something and make it better. And that was my goal every day to try to get the quarterbacks of the Philadelphia Eagles -- No. 1, 2 and 3 -- better each day, and he trusted me to do that, gave me a lot of leeway and a lot of room to do that and I thanked him for that when I left. So those three things I learned from coach, and I think he does a fantastic job. Not only is he a great coach, he's an even better person, so I really like Coach P."