Sorry for the tardiness in posting about this, since it's been out there for the better part of 24 hours, but we were pretty busy with the game yesterday. Thanks to Viketory or Death making a fanpost about this originally to try and get the conversation going.
It's been the consensus amongst the DN faithful that Leslie Frazier should be fired at the end of the 2013 season. That looks like it may come to fruition.
Jason LaCanfora of CBS Sports reports that the Vikings and Houston Texans have been in contact with Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien. I'm pretty sure that it's not just to ask for places to stay while checking out a game in Happy Valley.
O'Brien took over a situation at Penn State that makes the current Vikings status look like a truckload of bunnies and rainbows, and he's done a fantastic job. He was the Big Ten coach of the year last season, and in two years he's guided Penn State to a 15-9 record under heavy NCAA sanctions.
Is Bill O'Brien someone you should get excited about? From a coaching perspective, yeah. From a 'will he actually take the job' perspective, I don't know. On the one hand, he's done a good job at Penn State under next to impossible circumstances. If you're making me take odds of him choosing either the Texans or the Vikings, assuming those would a) be his only two choices and b) he was definitely coming back to the NFL, I think the edge might be in Minnesota. The QB situation is the same, the Vikings are getting ready to move into a new stadium, and the Vikes have two former Penn State players (Mike Mauti, Gerald Hodges) that played for O'Brien in his first season, and helped him guide Penn State through the worst scandal that any college football team has had to endure. There was a lot of mutual respect and admiration between Mauti, Hodges, and O'Brien, and BOB leaned heavily on those two guys to provide leadership as seniors in the wake of the Sandusky scandal. Relationships like those can't be discounted when looking at jobs like these, and I think that would give the Vikings an advantage.
In the NFL, he coached under Bill Belichick and over Tom Brady in New England. Kids, in the industry, that's what we call a 'resume enhancer'. With the Pats, was the WR coach, the QB coach, and finally became the offensive coordinator in 2011 before moving to Happy Valley in 2012. At Penn State, he took Matt McGloin and turned him into an NFL quarterback in one year. Let me say that again: Matt McGloin is an NFL-caliber quarterback after one year under Bill O'Brien's tutelage. He also is doing a good job developing his prize recruit, QB Christian Hackenberg. Hackenberg was the #1 rated QB coming out of high school, and in 2013 he was named the Thompson-Randle El Freshman of the Year in the Big Ten, throwing for over 2,900 yards, 20 TD's, and only 10 interceptions.
So O'Brien is a very attractive head coaching candidate: head coach and NFL experience, a proven track record of developing good quarterbacks while not screwing up already established ones, and a guy that can win in almost impossible circumstances.
On the other hand, I would be surprised if O'Brien left Penn State right now. The NCAA is letting it be known that they are going to more than likely reduce the sanctions on Penn State, which will give him more scholarships and a chance to take his team to a bowl game. I don't think anyone thought O'Brien was going to be a Penn State guy for the rest of his career, and that his ultimate desire was to return to the NFL. I just don't expect it to be this soon. The Eagles made a pretty serious run at him last year, and he turned them down, and let's face it, the Eagles were a lot more attractive last year than the Vikings or Texans are this year. Yeah, Penn State ponied up some more cash to make sure he stayed, but I kind of got the sense that BOB wasn't really looking to leave. But would you turn down a $1 million raise if it was offered? I wouldn't. My personal opinion is that I kind of expect O'Brien to stay until his first recruiting class graduats, and then re-assess. But again, my opinion only.
If La Canfora's report is true and he really is looking to come back to the NFL, the Vikings would be a good landing spot, though. Like I said earlier, there's the new stadium and former PSU players on the roster that would, if nothing else, make him think long and hard about the job. But he'll also have an opportunity to draft the QB he wants early on and develop him, and there's talent on this roster that a good coaching staff can develop into contention in pretty short order.
But whether the name is Bill O'Brien or one of the other usual cast of characters we see thrown around when an NFL job comes open, it's becoming apparent that the one name we WON'T see on the door to the office of the head coach at Winter Park next year is Leslie Frazier.