We've been documenting all of the goings on concerning the Minnesota Vikings' coaching search over the course of the past couple of weeks, and it appears that a couple of names have emerged as "favorites" for the job, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Apparently those favorites are Cincinnati Bengals' defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, Arizona Cardinals' defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, and "one other" candidate. (That insight comes from Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network.) Ted has already made it clear that he thinks Zimmer is the man for the job, and the more I read and hear about him, the more I tend to agree. However, if Rick Spielman holds true to the process that is outlined in the Pioneer Press. . .well, I don't know if we should start making the placard for Zimmer's desk at Winter Park just yet.
"Rick said that he had to go (interview) Zimmer over in Cincinnati (on Wednesday) and then his plan of action was that he was going to bring two or three guys from this network (of interviews) into Minneapolis to meet with Zygi and the whole group," Wooten said. "That's what he told me. But he didn't tell me who the people were. But he told me after he finished, that was going to be his plan."
I like Rick Spielman, and due diligence is a good thing. . .after all, if memory serves me correctly, Brad Childress was the first new coach hired in the great coaching turnover of 2006. But a delay suggests a couple of possibilities.
It could be that Spielman hasn't found "his guy" yet. If that's the case, I would find it to be a bit disconcerting, considering that the Vikings have interviewed five people for the job thus far:
-Seattle Seahawks' offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell
-Seahawks' defensive coordinator Dan Quinn
-Cincinnati Bengals' defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer
-Arizona Cardinals' defensive coordinator Todd Bowles
-Cleveland Browns' defensive coordinator Ray Horton
It could be that Spielman is waiting on a coach that is still currently coaching. According to Ben Goessling of ESPN.com, the team has requested interviews with San Diego Chargers' offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, Denver Broncos' offensive coordinator Adam Gase, Broncos' defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, San Francisco 49ers' offensive coordinator Greg Roman. Niners Nation also passed along to us that the Vikings want to interview 49ers defensive line coach Jim Tomsula. They were scheduled to interview Bengals' offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, but he took the head coaching job with the Washington Redskins.
Spielman stated that he wanted to have a coach in place before the Senior Bowl. That game will take place two weeks from Saturday, on 25 January. Because they interviewed Bevell and Quinn during their playoff bye week, they can conduct a second interview with them during the week before the Super Bowl, should the Seahawks make it that far. If San Francisco, Denver or San Diego make it to the Super Bowl, they won't be able to interview Roman, Tomsula, Gase, Del Rio, or Whisenhunt (whichever coaches are on the sidelines for Super Bowl XLVIII) until the day after the Super Bowl, as they were not able to conduct an initial interview with them earlier.
With the Super Bowl happening on 3 February and the Scouting Combine starting in Indianapolis on 19 February, that wouldn't leave a whole lot of time to organize things before watching guys run around and lift weights in shorts and t-shirts.
I understand that Spielman really wants to get this one "right." After all, he's probably out of a job if he blows this hire. (No pressure or anything.) In my opinion, that's all the more reason that if his "Spidey sense" starts to tingle and he gets a good feeling about a candidate, he should move quickly. There are three other teams with head coaching vacancies out there (the Cleveland Browns, the Detroit Lions, and the Tennessee Titans), and you can be assured they're not going to just sit back on the sidelines and let Spielman pick whoever he wants if they have interest in someone. Zimmer is reportedly interviewing with the Titans today, and Bowles has had interviews with several other teams.
The Minnesota Vikings will be hiring a head coach before too much longer here. We can all just hope that Rick Spielman's approach, in this case, is better than the one that the Vikings took when they were in this position eight years ago.