‘Don’t Count the Vikings Out:’ NFL Insider on Super Bowl Head Coach Candidate

Jim Harbaugh

Getty The Vikings are rumored to have an interest in Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh.

The Minnesota Vikings were considered on the periphery of the Jim Harbaugh sweepstakes at the start of the NFL head coach interviewing carousel.

Not anymore.

John U. Bacon, formerly a reporter with The Detroit News, has been monitoring Harbaugh’s prospects of becoming an NFL coach again, noting that the Vikings may be interested in the former San Francisco 49ers head coach.

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‘Don’t Count the Vikings Out’

While there are mixed reports on Harbaugh, Bacon tweeted on Monday, January 24, that the Vikings are linked to the current Michigan head coach.

“Harbaugh Watch, Day 23: Nobody Knows Anything. But FWIW (for what it’s worth), I’m hearing the NFL possibilities seem to be shrinking, not expanding, especially with probably the best fit, Las Vegas,” Bacon said. “Flip side, just heard, ‘Don’t count the Vikings out.’ ”

A reunion with the Chicago Bears seemed like a more natural fit in the NFC North, but Minnesota has been considered one of the most promising head coach positions available. The Vikings also have a general manager candidate who has ties to Harbaugh.

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Finalist for Vikings GM Connected to Harbaugh

Cleveland Browns vice president of football operations Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, who will meet with the Vikings this week for a second interview, worked with Harbaugh as an executive with the 49ers.

The two worked together in San Francisco for two years before Harbaugh parted ways with the organization for undisclosed reasons. Harbaugh took over as head coach in 2011 — an anticipated rebuilding season for the franchise that hadn’t made the playoffs or had a winning season since 2002.

Harbaugh worked wonders immediately, leading the 49ers to a 13-3 regular season and an NFC Championship Game appearance. He won three consecutive NFC West titles en route to three straight conference championship games and a Super Bowl appearance in 2012. But amid a turbulent 8-8 season, Harbaugh was told he would be fired at the end of the season but stayed to the finish the season before the 49ers announced they had “parted ways” with him.

“Yes, I was told I wouldn’t be the coach anymore — and you can call it mutual. I wasn’t going to put the 49ers in a position to have a coach they didn’t want anymore,” Harbaugh said, per NFL.com. “That’s the truth of it. I didn’t leave the 49ers, I felt like the 49er hierarchy left me.”

247 Sports National College Reporter Brandon Marcello corroborated that Harbaugh seems to be keeping his cards close to his chest, saying, “One thing I can report: Not even Jim Harbaugh’s friends know which way he’s leaning it when it comes to #Michigan or #NFL.”

Adofo-Mensah was manager of the 49ers’ manager of football research and development when he overlapped with Harbaugh and likely wasn’t at the center of the conflict with the front office. He didn’t follow Baalke, who was fired by San Francisco in 2016, to the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2020. He instead left the 49ers for a promotion with the Browns last offseason.

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