Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Vikings coaching search narrows - apparently

Is this guy going to be the Minnesota Vikings new head coach?

Well, the Vikes are bringing Bengals' Mike Zimmer in for a second interview and he appears to be one of the finalists for the job, with Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles possibly being another one.

Some quick thoughts on the Zimmer thing.

* Despite my wish that the Vikes next head coach be a guy who had coached in the NFL (and had some success) before, general manager Rick Spielman has only - to our knowledge - interviewed coordinators and positional coaches for the job. He didn't get a chance to interview Lovie Smith (my top choice for the Vikes head coach job), he hasn't interviewed Ken Whisenhunt yet (who is a favorite to get the Lions job), and he won't get a chance to interview Denver's Jack Del Rio until the Broncos season is over. If he wants to have a head coach in place before the Senior Bowl in late January, Spielman will probably have to hire one of the coordinators he's already interviewed. I guess I can live with that.

* How have Zimmer's defenses in Cincinnati fared during his six seasons as coordinator there? Here are his defense's rankings in points and yards allowed, respectively, in those seasons:

2013: 5th; 3rd
2012: 8th; 6th
2011: 9th; 7th
2010: 24th; 15th
2009: 6th; 4th
2008: 19th; 12th 

OK. A couple of Leslie Frazier-like seasons in there, but overall, some pretty sweet rankings. I'm sold.

* Coaches like to bring in players they worked with and trust wherever they coach and we can all agree the Vikings defense could use some new blood. There is one Bengals defender who Zimmer might try to bring with him to Minnesota - if he gets the job. It's right defensive end Mike Johnson, who is an unrestricted free agent. Johnson only had 3.5 sacks this year, which might make him a bit undervalued if he hits the market (that's good). But he had 11.5 sacks in 2012 and the Vikings currently have an opening at right defensive end. Starter Jared Allen and his backup Everson Griffen both are set to be free agents as well. Personally, if it's a "one-or-the-other" decision, I'd prefer the Vikes keep Griffen. However, the Vikes could use quality depth at the defensive end spot, so why not resign Griffen and then use Zimmer's relationship with Johnson to coax him to come to Minnesota as well? That would give the Vikings Brian Robison, Griffen and Johnson as their top 3 defensive ends on the roster. That could be a very good, and relatively cheap, pass rushing trio and allow Minnesota to focus more resources on other defensive positions in the draft.


  1. I am betting on Zimmer or DelRio. I have heard Zimmer and Linnehan as offensive coordinator.

  2. Anon 7:24:

    A follower on twitter mentioned Linehan was "rumored" to be a candidate for the Vikings OC job. I haven't read anything linking him to the job, but he'd be someone I'd welcome to the Vikings with open arms - especially if the Vikes hire a defensive-minded coach like Zimmer as the new head coach.

    Linehan's got boatloads of experience as an NFL OC and he's had great success in that role at other stops, including Minnesota. For a defense-first coordinator who is likely going to be more comfortable overseeing the defensive side of things as a first-time HC, it would be wise to hand over the keys of the offense to a guy like Linehan and not have to worry about that too much. It would also help the new hire in that Linehan's been a head coach in the NFL once and he could be a sounding board for the new guy who doesn't have that experience.

  3. Schefter tweeted that Zimmer is officially the guy.

  4. Woohoo!! I think they made the right call. My brother told me Norv Turner was the choice at OC (per Schefty). Home run there on both sides of the ball. I'm officially excited.


    1. Saw the news about a half hour ago. I'll have a follow-up post up tonight at some point. I like the hire and I like the names being floated as possible OC's - Linehan, Turner and Mike Mularkey.