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Report: Pat Shurmur lead candidate for Arizona Cardinals’ head coach job

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He interviewed with them during the bye week

NFL: Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

During the Minnesota Vikings’ bye week prior to the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs, offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur interviewed with four different teams for their head coaching vacancies. While one of those coaches, the Chicago Bears, have already filled their head coaching spot with someone else, it sounds like one team has put Shurmur at the top of their wish list.

ABC 15 in Phoenix is reporting that Shurmur has emerged as the leading candidate for the head coaching job with the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals’ job came open when their former head coach, Bruce Arians, declared that he was retiring following the end of the Cardinals’ season.

Whoever takes the Cardinals’ job, whether it’s Shurmur or whoever else, is going to have a bit of a rebuild on their hands. They’ll get star running back David Johnson back next season after his 2017 season was lost to a wrist injury. The Cardinals are also going to need a quarterback, as Carson Palmer has announced his retirement as well. That might be a part of the reason the job appeals to Shurmur.

As we know, the Vikings’ top three quarterbacks. . .Case Keenum, Teddy Bridgewater, and Sam Bradford. . .are all free agents at the end of this season. Since the Vikings certainly can’t (and won’t) keep all three of them, if Shurmur takes the job with Arizona, whoever the odd man (or men) out would be would immediately have an “in” with Shurmur in Arizona.

Should the Vikings win their next two football games, the Cardinals would have an opportunity to do a second interview with Shurmur, as they interviewed him during the Vikings’ original bye week. NFL rules now stipulate that teams that make the final game of the NFL season can have their coaches interviewed by teams that had interviewed them previously. In Shurmur’s case, that would mean the Cardinals, the New York Giants, and the Detroit Lions could all potentially speak with him again if they haven’t filled their head coaching vacancies by that point.

At this point, it seems as though Vikings’ fans should probably resign themselves to the fact that Pat Shurmur is not going to be this team’s offensive coordinator in 2018. We can hope against hope for it not to happen, but the odds of Shurmur being a part of Mike Zimmer’s staff for another season appear to have gotten a lot longer.