According to Jason La Canfora of NFL.com, it appears that the Vikings will ask Alan Williams to be their next defensive coordinator. The Vikings interviewed Williams on Monday, who turned in a strong interview. Williams has been a defensive backs coach in Indianapolis for 10 years, and was on the same staff as Leslie Frazier during his time in Indianapolis. With uncertainty surrounding the head coaching situation in Indianapolis, nobody's job is safe, so with the fact that the move would be a promotion means that Williams is all but the Vikings new defensive coordinator.
I'm a fan of the move, and it actually tells us a lot about what the coaching staff is going to look like next year. As it appears, the Vikings took every possible route to avoid giving the job to Mike Singletary, who did not get good reviews after this past season. Presuming the Fred Pagac will return to being the linebackers coach (I really hope he does, he's a killer one) then Singletary will probably exit quietly.
Williams has a background in the Tampa-2 defensive scheme, which is one that Leslie Frazier apparently wants to keep and run next season. Having coached the Colts' defensive backs since 2001, there is a significant amount of stats to sort through. Let's take a look at how Williams' DB's have fared during his regime in Indianapolis.
To give a quick review, Alan Williams has served as the Colts defensive backs coach for the last 10 years. He is 42 years of age, and graduated from WIlliam and Mary (where he played football) during the same year that Mike Tomlin was a freshman there. After that, he went straight to coaching and hasn't looked back. After a stint in college and then in Tampa Bay under defensive genius Monte Kiffin, he become the Colts' DB coach in 2001.
(EDIT: Thank you to CCNorseman for pointing out he didn't actually come onto the staff until '02. Makes the statistical improvement even more impressive than it was before.)
2001: The year before Alan Williams came onto the staff, the Colts weren't a very good team. Their overall defense was ranked 31st in the league, and they allowed 30 passing touchdowns. They did, however, get 15 interceptions, which is pretty decent. One of the defensive backs also had a 90 yard fumble return touchdown. Not a bunch of info on this year, so I'm moving on to year two!
2002: This is the first year that Alan Williams was coaching the Colts' defensive backs.. Joined on after the 2001 season, not before. Huge statistical increase from last year. Their turnover differential in the secondary went from 31st in the league (-15) to 21st in the league (-5) which may seem like its not much, but to move up 10 spots in one year is pretty significant. The defense racked up 10 interceptions, but only allowed 19 touchdowns (11 better than the prior year). The defensive backs obviously improved since he got there.
2003: Another monster statistical improvement. The turnover difference went from 21st in the league from the year prior (-5) to 6th in the league at +10. That's a +15 turnover differential increase from the year prior, not to mention the +10 it improved the year prior to that. The team also had 3 defensive touchdowns, two of them being interception returns by a defensive back.
2004: To take from Colts.com:
In 2004, six defensive backs were among the eleven Colts to produce interceptions. David (4), Nick Harper (3) and Doss (2) helped the club total 19 interceptions. The secondary had the club’s three defensive touchdowns and helped the club amass a +19 turnover ratio, the best in the team’s Indianapolis era.
That's a monster increase again, going from +10 the year prior to +19, which, add noted, is the best in team history. The increases year to year, now, are: +10, +15, +9 (team history record.) That looks pretty damn impressive to me.
Moving to '05: The notable stats here are the fact that the Colts defense had a +12 turnover ratio, and only allowed 247 points the entirety of the year, which was 2nd in the NFL at the time and the best in team history. Their point differential (+192) was first in the NFL.
2006 (Super Bowl Year): This team's stats was actually probably the worst out of all of the ones that I looked over. For those of you who don't remember watching, the Colts defense was actually atrocious going into the playoffs when it came to stopping the run, and everybody thought they were going to get trounced in the playoffs. Bob Sanders (in his third year under the tutelage of Williams) anchored the defense through the playoffs, and they won the Super Bowl. More stats from that year: +7 turnover differential, 6th in the NFL. More on the players themselves from Colts.com:
In 2006, Bethea was a 14-game rookie starter who ranked 3rd on the club with 105 tackles. He added one regular-season interception and two in the playoffs, along with 14 tackles. The secondary produced eleven of the club’s 15 regular-season interceptions, then had five in the playoffs. Jackson’s last-minute theft secured the AFC Championship Game victory over New England, and Hayden’s 56t interception vs. Chicago provided the final points in Super Bowl XLI. Sanders added a fourth-quarter interception against Chicago to help end the contest.
2007: Is by far the most impressive year in the coaching history of Alan Williams. The Colts had 22 interceptions (second in the NFL that year), and their scoring defense was first in the NFL. Bob Sanders and Antoine Bethea both received Pro Bowl honors, and Bob Sanders (whose development is accredited to Williams) became the NFL Defensive Player of the Year for 2007. The overall defense ranked 3rd in the NFL at 279.7 yards per game, the best in team history while in Indianapolis.
2008: The Colts defensive backs have been stellar during Wiliams' regime. In 2008, they only allowed 6 touchdown passes throughout the entirety of the year, which is a league record with a three-touchdown cushion (the next best is 9 touchdown passes.) The defense was 3rd in NFL Red Zone efficiency and the defensive backs had all of the team's interceptions. Bethea and Melvin Bullitt lead the team in interceptions and tackles.
2009: Rough year, because Sanders, Hayden, and Marlin Jackson all had injury-plagued years. Jerraud Powers and Jacob Lacey stepped up well, however, and helped by getting 71 and 78 tackles, respectively. Seven Colts DBs had interceptions during the regular season, and 3 DBs had postseason interceptions (Hayden, Bethea, Powers.)
2010: Also an injury plagued year, but the Colts still racked up 10 INTs, and made their 9th-consecutive postseason appearance (with much oblige to the help of Mr. Williams, who has coached every single year they made the playoffs.) A couple of journeymen (Aaron Francisco) had good seasons as well, racking up 52 tackles and 4 INTs.
2011: Not a fantastic year. Kelvin Hayden and Bob Sanders departed, leaving the club with 8 interceptions for 2011, which is a pretty meager total, though I'm not sure I would blame the entirety of that on Williams based on how the offense (cough, cough) performed this season. The team went 2-14, the worst (and most random record) since before Williams arrived.
All in all, I feel pretty confident about this hire for the Vikings. He has experience in the system, and his defensive backs obviously have had a lot of production under his tutelage. Hopefully he can take guys like Asher Allen, Chris Cook and Mistral Raymond and develop them into the type of players that he had succeed in Indianapolis. All things taken into account, I think this is a good fit, and hopefully, will yield some really positive results for the 2012-2013 campaign.