Well, it's been over a year since I've posted anything on DN, just the occasional ghosting to see what was being discussed. What a year it's been. Last time I talked, I had just returned from my honeymoon. Though a rather bouncy one thanks too Hurricane Sandy. That wasn't too much fun. I was also running a Fantasy League that a few in here were a part of. For those that were a part of the league, I want to sincerely apologize for the sudden and abrupt way the league went rudderless. Just as it seemed life was great, freshly married, back from the honeymoon and things were right with the world, life decided to rear it's ugly side. I got laid off. Nice wedding gift right? Yeah baby! At the same time, my wife's house, which we were renting out, suddenly no longer had renters. They decided to abandon the place, after pretty much ransacking it and leaving a nasty water leak from the water softener that required several thousands of dollars of repairs and kitchen cabinet replacement. But oh wait, it get's better! As if the stress level of life wasn't high enough, my Mom went into the hospital for an extended period and has been in and out of the hospital this year since then. She went back in just before Christmas and now is heading into hospice. Between heart operations and issues since 1998, cancer and not taking care of herself after all that, her body is giving up. So with that little bombshell on top of the other ones all within a few weeks, the priority list of life got scrambled worse then a Rubiks Cube on acid. Yeah, I just dated myself. As a result, my fantasy league and the DN, which I have missed the most, had to go on the back burner. Even after all that, the current job market here in Albuquerque is not the greatest and despite applications, resumes, interviews and what not, nothing. And if you believe the Government when they say that things are getting better, I have a bridge in the Sahara Desert to sell you!
On the bright and happy side of life that makes you forget about the trivial or overly stressful stuff is that on February 23, 2014, just before my 41st birthday, the worlds population of Vikings fans will increase by one. Aubrie will be joining us. She already has a little Cris Carter jersey waiting for her.
So, I return to the DN after my leave of absence of life with what is my thoughts on the coaching search.
For those of you who remember me, you will know I was a supporter of Frazier. I thought he had what it takes to motive a team, to keep a team together and let it grow into a beast. On the first two points, I still believe that given the second half of the season. On the third point, I could never have been so wrong! I wasn't expecting a run all the way to the Super Bowl, but I was reasonably expecting to build on last years finish and walk into the playoffs. Shame on me. The Vikings did what they had to do today and let him go. To me, a big part of the Frazier Tragedy was an over reliance of loyalty. Musgrave should have been let go a long time ago. That was more then evident to many of us and to me. As I watched the games this season after Adrian was injured, it finally hit me as too Musgrave's problems. He was overly reliant on Peterson. When Peterson was healthy, the play calling seemed to be geared to run, run and if it was long, then a pass. Yet, when Peterson was out, the passing game seemed to be opened up and more then one player (Peterson) seemed to be utilized. No wonder why defenses keyed in on Peterson all season long. Sure, they were wanting to prevent him from getting remotely close to 2,000 yards again, but when you know the bulk of the offensive load is going to that guy, you really have the offensive scheme figured out. Stop Peterson because Musgrave can't stop trying to run him all the time. Same went for the defense, though I will give a little credit as overly ineffective Williams defense seemed to start the season, the defense seemed to try and adjust in the second half. I don't think I need to mention Ponder. I walked away from that this season.
So, who do we pick as the Vikings next Head Coach? There have been names I've seen bantered about in the press alot. I am sure alot here have ideas as well, but I am going to stick to the ones that seem the most popular by the media to link to the Vikings.
1. Bill O'Brien - Great turn around at Penn State after that whole fiasco a couple of years ago. Only hitch is his buy out. Has proven to be a motivator. Was successful with the Patriots. Only problem is, succesful assistants or coaches that were under Belichick don't seem to be successful running a team. i.e. Mangini, Schwartz, Groh, Crennel, Saban and McDaniels. Most, if not all, were supposed locks to be successful, all have failed. Could O'Brien be the next "lock" to fail? Tho to counter that, it does seem he has been successful up until now no matter the position. Tho at present, he is considered the front runner for the Texans, and personally, I feel a long shot for the Vikings. Given this and the Belichick Assistant Curse, I am 50/50 on him at best.
2. Lovie Smith - Lovie runs a great defense. Ours needs the right coach. This team, for as bad as it has looked, has alot of talent and potential in it. The guys just need the right guidance, and Lovie would fit that bill. There in lies my problem with Lovie. Great on defense, but after seeing him all these years, lost on offense. Or should I say getting the right person to run the offense. Tice, Martz, Turner and so on. His offense coaching was a revolving door spinning faster then trying to walk out of the Metrodome. The whole Quarterback situation before Cutler and even with Cutler, the offense seemed lost. Who is to say it wouldn't be the same here? Would we see the span of Bevell and Musgrave to run his offense? And I can guarantee that Lovie will never be a Coordinator again. He has made that plainly known. While I would love to see him whip the Defense into shape, it would be the same old situation (Cue up the Motley Crue!) on offense. I'm less inclined then I would be with O'Brien.
3. Mike Zimmer - Has done a great job as Defensive Coordinator in Cincinnati. Started out in the NFL with the Cowboys during their 2nd golden era in the '90's. In '03, the Cowboys had one of the top, if not the best, defense. Survived many head coaching changes while in Dallas. Spent a year in Atlanta and probably still throws darts (my favorite past time) at pictures of Bobby Petrino. Went to the Bengals in 2008 and has been getting awards, accolades and good defenses since then. The drawbacks, could he land a well known or sought after person to run the offense? He would be like Frazier in so far that he would be entering his first ever Head Coaching job. How about Defense? Like Lovie, he could get that whipped up pretty quick but he would need to find the Anti Williams. However, unlike Frazier, he has had success running several different defenses with very good success. From what I have gathered, he does get the same respect Frazier has gotten from teams members, so that would be a plus. My thought, above Lovie and a slight nudge above O'Brien.
There are more names being thrown around this morning too. Jay Gruden seems like a viable candidate as well. He has done a good job running the Bengals offense and working with Dalton who is probably an above average Quarterback, but nothing overly special. Jack Del Rio who had a decent run in Jacksonville despite a inept ownership, GM and players. I would only start seriously considering him if all the above were not available plus a few others. Adam Gase has only been a Coordinator for a year and has Manning to help him overcome any short comings if he has them. I think he should be a pass. Whisenhunt, I am iffy on more then I am Del Rio. When he has a QB, he did good. After Warner, he seemed lost and the team never recovered. I just saw Jim Mora's name mentioned as well. I put him towards the bottom of my list too. Never was a fan of his. Shannahan has gone full senile, no thank you.
As for Coordinators, with the blood letting that has transpired on this Black Monday, there are very capable coaches who were very successful at the coordinator level then the head coaching level so there should be a decent amount to choose from. Another knock I have on Lovie and a few other former Head Coaches who I did not mention here, is I would rather have a fired first time head coach go back and learn from his mistakes for a few years before jumping back into the head coaching arena again. While I would put O’Brien and Zimmer at the top, the Vikings are more then likely going with an offensive minded coach, which will probably leave Zimmer out of the running. I just hope the Wilfs and Spielman do not rush into a coaching pick too fast like Mr. Noodle (Childress) and take their time and find a good long term solution and our next Bud Grant though with a few Superbowl rings.
Belated Merry Christmas everyone, hope it was a good one for you all!