The Minnesota Vikings are taking a hard look at a former NFL head coach who has been building quality defenses throughout the league for nearly a decade.
Adam Schefter, ESPN football insider, reported Saturday that the Vikings have requested permission to interview Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles for the team’s open head coaching position.
“Vikings requested permission to interview Bucs’ DC Todd Bowles for their HC job, per source,” Schefter posted to Instagram on January 15. “The Wilf family that owns the Vikings is from Elizabeth, N.J.; Bowles is from Elizabeth, N.J.”
Bowles Has Previous Head Coaching Experience in NFL
Whatever the hometown connection might be between Bowles and Vikings ownership, the defensive coordinator (DC) is capable of garnering plenty of interest based on the strength of his coaching record.
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Bowles was the architect of the Bucs’ 2020 championship defense. He has been a member of the Tampa Bay coaching staff for three seasons, after serving a four-year stint as head coach of the New York Jets between 2015-18.
Before that, Bowles worked as the DC for the Arizona Cardinals for two seasons and the interim DC with the Philadelphia Eagles the year before that, in 2012. Bowles also had a stint as interim head coach (HC) with the Miami Dolphins in 2011, where he was the assistant head coach/secondary coach for five seasons. Before that, Bowles spent time with the Dallas Cowboys and Cleveland Browns as a position coach, as well as the Green Bay Packers as a member of player personnel staff.
Not only does Bowles have a wealth of coaching experience, he has also learned the game as a high-ranking staff member under several NFL legends. Bowles is part of coaching trees that connect to Super Bowl-winning head coaches like current Kansas City Chiefs HC Andy Reid, former two-time champion HC with the New York Giants Bill Parcels, and the most recent coach to be crowned an NFL champion in Bucs HC Bruce Arians.
The long-time defensive architect also boasts an eight-year playing career, from 1986-1993, as an NFL safety. He was a regular starter in five of those eight seasons, winning a championship ring with the Washington Football Team in Super Bowl XXII.
Bowles’ record as a head coach with the Jets and the Dolphins was not stellar. He was 2-1 in an interim capacity in Miami, then started off strong in New York with a 10-6 effort in 2015. It went downhill from there, as Bowles won just 14 more regular season games over the next three campaigns before the Jets relieved him of his duties. He is currently 26-41 as an NFL head coach.
However, Bowles’ teams have been highly successful when he has served in the capacity of defensive coordinator. The Bucs and the Cardinals put together a cumulative record of 52-29 over five seasons with Arians at the helm and Bowles running the defense. The Eagles were 1-9 while Bowles served as interim DC in 2012, his first career crack at the job.
Bowles One Of Several Big Names Vikings Will Interview For HC Job
The Vikings parted ways with both general manager (GM) Rick Speilman and head coach Mike Zimmer on Monday, January 10, just one day after the end of a disappointing 8-9 season that saw Minnesota miss out on the postseason for the second consecutive year.
The team has stated publicly that it will select a new GM before deciding on a head coach, presumably wanting to give the new decision maker some say in the selection process. According to the Heavy on Vikings Twitter account, the team had filed eight GM interview requests with the NFL as of Thursday.
The Vikings may be zeroing in on their desired GM candidate — or are simply working ahead with candidates they believe will be of interest to both ownership and the new GM — as the team has already begun requesting permission to interview potential head coaches, Bowles being just one of them.
ESPN reporters Jeremy Fowler and Dan Graziano reported that the Vikings would request an interview with Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, echoing La Canfora’s report about Pederson in the same article.
Chad Graff, Vikings reporter for The Athletic Minnesota, compiled a list of interview requests for head coaches and posted them to Twitter Saturday morning.
“Now that they’ve got GM interviews set up, the Vikings’ search committee is putting in requests for head coach candidates including — per @AdamSchefter and @TomPelissero — [Bucs DC] Todd Bowles, [Packers OC] Nathaniel Hackett, [Eagles DC] Jonathan Gannon, [Cowboys OC] Kellen Moore, [49ers DC] DeMeco Ryans, and [Cowboys DC] Dan Quinn. More expected,” Graff wrote.
Former San Francisco 49ers head coach, and current Michigan head coach, Jim Harbaugh has been rumored to be interested in an NFL job, though he has not been expressly connected to the vacancy in Minnesota.