Before I get into the meat of today's posting here, let me just as everyone a quick question. . .
Who Dat say dey gonna get embarrassed by a team with a losing record in the first round of the playoffs?
Seriously, wasn't that run to seal that game by Marshawn Lynch something? Nice job of tackling, Tracy Porter. . .honestly, I don't remember someone selling a shot to the chest like that since the last time I watched Kill Bill, Volume 2.
(If you want to skip the build-up, it's about three minutes in.)
So now that we're not talking about on-field matters when it comes to the Vikings, it's time to take a look at what the team is trying to do to make itself better during the off-season. To that end, the Vikings are making changes to the coaching staff, and they've brought in a couple of interesting names to that end.
The Vikings have brought in two men who were both, as recently as a month ago, the head coaches of other NFL teams. They've brought in former 49ers head coach Mike Singletary as a potential linebackers coach and, in a somewhat shocking development, have talked to former Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels about possibly becoming the team's offensive coordinator.
I'll start with Singletary, if only because he's a bit less of a surprise to me than McDaniels. When head coach Leslie Frazier was elevated from defensive coordinator to head coach with six games left in the 2010 season, the team moved linebackers coach Fred Pagac into the de facto defensive coordinator position. Frazier apparently liked the defensive approach Pagac went with, and I suspect that many Viking fans did as well, so it appears that he will be keeping the job as DC. It's not surprising that Frazier would turn to someone like Singletary, either, as the two of them were teammates with the Chicago Bears back in the 1980s, and Singletary was widely regarded as a very good position coach and a defensive coordinator when he first got his start in the NFL.
The McDaniels thing is a bit of a surprise to me, if for no other reason than for the sort of offensive system that he employs. McDaniels' offenses have been known as more of a spread-type of system, which might seem to be an issue for a team that employs one of the top running backs in the National Football League, doesn't have a bevy of great wide receivers, and has issues at the quarterback position and along the offensive line. McDaniels is known as a quarterback guy, as evidenced by his work with current Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel when both were with the New England Patriots, as well as his work with Kyle Orton and (to a lesser extent) Tim Tebow in Denver. As things stand today, the only quarterback that the Vikings currently employ is Joe Webb, who has a ton of physical talent but is still also incredibly raw. . .sort of a "poor man's Tebow," depending on who you talk to.
To be honest, I think that having guys like Singletary and McDaniels on a team's coaching staff would be nothing but helpful for the Vikings. Yes, both of those guys had a taste of what it was like to have the real, ultimate power of being an NFL head coach, but it was also obvious from watching both of them operate in that capacity that they were both in well over their heads. Fortunately, they aren't the first people to find themselves facing that reality. The NFL has plenty of examples of guys that were great coordinators that ranged anywhere from "okay" to "terrible" when given the title of head coach. Guys like Dom Capers (who has always been a very good defensive mind, but has failed at three different NFL head coaching stops), Wade Phillips, Charlie Weis, and others are all far better suited to be coordinators than they are to be head coaches. Still others, such as Bill Belichick, had to fall on their face as a head coach once and spend more time as a coordinator before moving on to success as head coaches.
Regardless of whether or not Singletary and McDaniels fall under the latter category, they would both be quite good in the capacity that the Vikings would be asking them to serve in. Offensively, the Vikings are set to undergo some growing pains no matter what, due largely to age and inconsistency on the offensive line and uncertainty at quarterback, but if this staff can get enough stability up front to supplement the talent they have at the skill positions with Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin, and Sidney Rice (should he re-sign) and get themselves a quarterback that they feel comfortable with. . .whether that's Webb or someone that isn't yet in Minnesota. . .it may make things a bit less painful going forward. For Singletary, if he can focus on just the linebacking corps and not have to worry too terribly much about game planning or roster management or anything like that, he could really bring something good to the staff as well.
Nothing has been finalized with either man yet, though I expect Singletary to be part of the staff sooner rather than later, but I'm quite excited at the prospect of this team adding both of them going forward. Part of the hold-up with McDaniels probably has to do with whether or not current offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will be staying on in a lesser capacity (specifically quarterback coach) or if he'll just be let go completely. From the sounds of it, however, Frazier hasn't totally embraced Bevell's West Coast system, so a change could definitely be in the offing there as well.
Obviously, we'll be keeping an eye on this situation as it develops. Hopefully there will be some news on this front sooner rather than later.
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