Just a week ago, San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan spoke about how he had hoped to keep DeMeco Ryans on his staff for one more season which was mentioned in this Heavy on 49ers article, even though the defensive coordinator has displayed future head coach qualities.
Now, one NFC team has put in the request to interview Ryans — making it the first franchise to inquire about the 37-year-old 49ers assistant.
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Via Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network on the morning of Saturday, January 15, the Minnesota Vikings have asked about Ryans for their head coaching vacancy.
The Vikings fired Mike Zimmer on Monday, January 10 during what is traditionally called “Black Monday” in the NFL: When teams decide to part ways with their coaching leader or keep their head coach in tact. Zimmer compiled a 72-56-1 overall record in the Twin Cities. However, since their NFC championship game run in 2017, the Vikings missed the playoffs in three of the next four seasons and finished below the .500 mark the past two seasons.
Ryan’s Coaching Resume & What he Accomplished in 2021
Two seasons after his last NFL game with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2015, Ryans dove into coaching…and has had a rise in that profession since.
In 2017, he was named defensive quality control coach by the 49ers — joining Shanahan’s first coaching staff. Then, from 2018-2020, he served as the team’s inside linebacker coach. During the course of those three seasons, Ryans went on to produce a future NFL First Team All-Pro middle linebacker in Fred Warner (2020).
Outside of producing Warner, Ryans joined forces with future New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh to produce the league’s best unit at forcing fumbles with a league-high 21. The 49ers additionally produced the NFL’s second-best defense in surrendering 281.8 per game during the 49ers’ run to the NFC title.
This past season in his first time running a defense to himself, the 49ers went on to produce the following:
- First overall in rushing fumbles forced at 11.
- Finished seventh overall in the NFL in total rushing yards allowed (1,760) and placed fourth in average yards per carry allowed at four.
- Placed sixth in the league in passing yards allowed (3,510) and eighth in passing touchdowns surrendered (25).
- Took fifth in the league by producing 48 sacks, with 41.5 coming from their defensive ends.
Player development wise, Ryans went on to help lift Nick Bosa to a career-best season of 15.5. sacks while returning from an ACL tear from 2020 while also getting Arden Key to produce career-highs including sacks with 6.5.
Ryans not the Only Name Linked to Vikings job Saturday
The Vikings gig has attracted high interest. Rightfully so with a roster featuring a rising young receiver in Justin Jefferson, a perennial Pro Bowler in Adam Thielen and a two-time Pro Bowl quarterback in Kirk Cousins.
But Ryans isn’t the only one who was requested for an interview on Saturday during the NFL Wildcard weekend.
It just so happens that the offensive coordinator Ryans will soon coach against on Sunday, January 16 in Dallas also received a request from the Vikings on Saturday morning: Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore.
Meanwhile, FanSided editor for The Vikings Age Adam Patrick sent this online suggestion to the team he covers: Get a top assistant from the 49ers, but make it Mike McDaniel.
Vikings writer Will Ragatz of Sports Illustrated then tweeted out this suggestion to Viking fans for Sunday:
Ryans Name Also Mentioned as Dream Possibility for Open AFC gig
While there’s no official report that the two sides have met, there’s one suggestion that was made by a former NFL teammate of Ryans.
That suggestion former offensive tackle Wade Smith made via Sports Radio 610 in Houston: Ryans former team the Houston Texans brings him back on, but this time as the head coach.