Monday, January 6, 2014

Vic Fangio, anyone?

ESPN 1500 tells us the Vikings have asked to interview Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt for their vacant head coach position.

Last week I wrote about whom the potential candidates for the job might be and expressed a desire that the Vikings hire a guy with previous experience as an NFL head coach. Obviously, Vikings general manager Rick Spielman read that post (sarcasm alert!) because both Whisenhunt and Jack Del Rio are on the list of 10 guys the Vikes are bringing in for interviews or they are rumored to be interested in interviewing.

But there is one name missing from that list - San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.

What makes Fangio a compelling candidate for the Vikings job? In his 3 seasons as the 49ers defensive coordinator, Fangio's defense has posted the following rankings in points and yards allowed, respectively:

2011: 2nd & 4th
2012: 2nd & 3rd
2013: 3rd & 5th

Are you salivating yet? Look, the 49ers have had a terrific front 7 during Fangio's time in San Francisco and I'm not going to pretend that hasn't played a large part in why those rankings have been so high. But I think we can agree that when units thrive in the NFL, it's because those units have great talent at key positions. That holds true for Jay Gruden, Adam Gase, Mike Zimmer and any other hot coordinator du jour you can think of. So don't hold it against Fangio.

For Vikings fans who aren't familiar with Fangio's work, if you watched the 49ers 23-20 win over Green Bay - a terrific Wildcard playoff game - it was on display. Fangio's defense sacked Packers QB Aaron Rodgers 4 times, limited him to 177 passing yards and just 1 TD pass and held Green Bay's battering ram rookie running back Eddie Lacy to 81 yards on 21 carries. One of the things that really stood out in this game for me was the 49ers tackling. It was awesome. Green Bay Packer ball carriers rarely escaped when they met a 49ers defender. In contrast, the tackling by Viking defenders in 2013 was frequently piss poor. Perhaps Fangio could change that. The Vikings defense would certainly become much tougher to score on if that happened.

I won't argue Fangio is the best option out there. But for a team that has featured one of the league's worst defenses in 2 of the past 3 seasons, doesn't at least interviewing the coordinator of the one of the NFL's best defenses during that same period seem like a good idea? 

There's still time, Rick Spielman. Give Fangio a call.


  1. Gonna take some players for him to have that success with this team.

    1. Anon 3:25: Absolutely. But if we are interviewing Todd Bowles and Ray Horton and Dan Quinn (and maybe Mike Zimmer), why isn't Fangio being considered? They will also need players to have success with the Vikings. Just seems like he's be worth having in for an interview. Pick his brain. Hear his philosophies. Find out what he's like one-on-one. Maybe you learn something at the very worst that can help the Vikings defense in 2014.

  2. Seems to take time for coordinators to get recognized. If is name is mentioned this go around, then next openings (next year), he becomes a hot property. Not saying it is fair, but seems to be the system.

    1. This seems true most of the time. But if Spielman is going to wait this long he may as well talk to everybody out there, find the hot guy before he's hot. Mike Tomlin wasn't really a hot commodity until the Rooneys brought him in (maybe more to satisfy the Rooney Rule?) and were impressed enough to hire him with very little experience.

      It seems odd to me that someone with Fangio's resume is never mentioned, even after 20 plus years in the NFL. That is one ridiculously good stretch of coaching jobs going all the way back to the Linebackers Coach for that badass Saints unit in 1986. There has to be a reason, maybe he doesn't want to move up? Bad interviews? But yes I am now interested good call.

    2. ETR:

      I think Fangio is being considered for an interview with some team - read it on Florio's PFT - and I think he had some interviews last year as well. Interesting that the Vikings want to interview 49ers OC Greg Roman, whose units haven't ranked anywhere near as high as Fangio's during the same time period. Now Roman's had slightly lesser talent to work with than Fangio during that stretch, but I wouldn't say it's by a country mile. Like I said, it's not that I want Fangio as the Vikings HC, but if Spielman isn't going to interview him, he isn't doing his due diligence.