What are the Minnesota Vikings looking for in their next head coach?
Think of the one that got away.
ESPN insider Jeremy Fowler recently spoke on the Vikings’ search for a new head coach, revealing a top candidate for the job has garnered an intriguing comparison to Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, formerly the Vikings’ defensive coordinator.
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Vikings High on Cowboys Coordinator
Covering the head-coach hiring buzz around the NFL, Fowler spoke extensively on the Vikings’ search, noting that the team has been searching for a head coach with Tomlin traits.
The 49-year-old Steelers coach has had a long run of success in Pittsburgh, including a Super Bowl win to cap the 2008 season. He’s known for balancing a no-nonsense approach to his coaching while also being personable with his players.
Fowler likened Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator and former Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn to Tomlin, saying he’s high on the Vikings’ list “if not at the top.”
Mike Tomlin’s name has come up during Minnesota’s search as the team’s committee identifies the right coach. The Vikings had Tomlin, who has never had a record below .500 since taking over the Steelers’ job, in 2006 as Brad Childress’ defensive coordinator and knew his magnetic personality would lead to a successful head-coaching tenure. And while Mike Zimmer had a largely successful eight-year run in Minnesota, it’s no secret his hard-charging style grated on the locker room, so a change of pace is probably needed.
Tomlin is one of a kind, but can the Vikings find someone who fits that mold? Dan Quinn certainly has that gear, and I’m hearing he’s high on their list, if not at the top. Quinn is intrigued by Minnesota, but pairing with the right general manager is crucial to him, and with his long-standing relationship with Broncos GM George Paton, Denver would have that edge unless the Vikings can appeal to him.
The Vikings are nearing the end of their search for a new general manager who will help hire a new head coach. The Vikings interviewed eight candidates for general manager. They recently sent requests for second interviews to Kansas City Chiefs vice president of player personnel Ryan Poles and Cleveland Browns vice president of football operations Kwesi Adofo-Mensah.
Whether the new general manager fits Quinn’s interests in Minnesota, other candidates have a Tomlin mentality.
“San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans presents an interesting case because, like Tomlin, he has been an NFL defensive coordinator for one season but has created buzz for his humble confidence, talent evaluation and pedigree (he was a better player than almost anyone he coaches). Ryans is 37, while Tomlin was 34 upon his hiring in Pittsburgh,” Fowler added.
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Vikings’ Head Coach Search So Far
The Vikings have interviewed several head coach candidates without a general manager in place.
Minnesota has interviewed seven coaches, including Quinn, so far. The others include Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Nathan Gannon, Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and Los Angeles Rams defensive and offensive coordinators Raheem Morris and Kevin O’Connell, respectively.
Some other coaches who have been in conversation but have yet to receive a formal interview request include Detriot Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn and Iowa State coach Matt Campbell, Fowler reported.
There have also been rumors that former Eagles head coach Doug Pederson is willing to wait for the Vikings to find their general manager before interviewing with the Vikings, according to SKOR North’s Judd Zulgad.