Leslie Frazier has been fired and the search for a new Minnesota Vikings head coach is already underway. Plenty of rumors have floated over the last few weeks, with Frazier's departure predictably on the horizon, so here's a roundup of the names that could very well be the next leader of the Vikings.
JACK DEL RIO – BRONCOS – DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR
Adam Schefter of ESPN reported Monday morning that Del Rio and Denver offensive coordinator Adam Gase are on the Vikings' radar, and that the Vikings "have inquired" about Gase. Del Rio played linebacker for the Vikings in the 1990's and he was the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2003-2011.
DARRELL BEVELL – SEAHAWKS – OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR
An interview could take place and Bevel seems to have as good of a chance as anyone in this coaching derby to land the gig in Minnesota. He was the Vikings' offensive coordinator from 2006-2010 before leaving for Seattle. As SB Nation notes, Bevell's offense in Minnesota was ranked No. 2 in 2009 with Brett Favre at the helm, but it finished 15th or worse in scoring average in three of his five years in Minnesota.
DAN QUINN – SEAHAWKS – DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR
Sports Illustrated's Doug Farrar believes Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn could help solve Minnesota's defensive problems, which came with four points of being the worst scoring defense in franchise history.
Under Pete Carroll, Quinn has done a fabulous job of mixing 4-3 and 3-4 concepts, different types of blitzes, and variable coverage concepts. Quinn will probably be coveted by some college teams, but the Vikings would be wise to give him a good, hard look if Frazier is sent packing.
TODD BOWLES – CARDINALS – DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR
He helped Arizona come within a last-second field goal from upsetting the 49ers and earning a surprise trip to the playoffs. Under Bowles, the Cardinals finished with the best rushing defense in the NFL. According to Pro Football Talk, the Cardinals finished sixth in yards allowed per game and fourth in yards allowed per play.
KEN WHISENHUNT – CHARGERS – OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR
Whisenhunt helped revive Philip Rivers and San Diego's offense this season. Whisenhunt made a name for himself as the offensive coordinator of the Steelers under legendary head coach Bill Cowher. He was the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals from 2007-2012, during which he led them to a Super Bowl appearance in 2009. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports believes the Vikings could reach out to Whisenhunt.
KEVIN SUMLIN – TEXAS A&M - HEAD COACH
Sumlin is a hot coaching commodity, and he could very well find himself in the NFL in the very near future. Would the Vikings be interested in hiring Sumlin and drafting Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel? The package deal is exactly what Bob Sansevere of the Pioneer Press blogged about in late November. Sumlin was an assistant coach for the Gophers during the 1990's.
JAY GRUDEN – BENGALS – OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR
The older brother of former Buccaneers Super Bowl winning coach Jon Gruden, who now works as a Monday Night Football analyst on ESPN, has helped Cincinnati establish an high-powered offense in the AFC North. Gruden has interviewed for head coaching jobs with the Jaguars, Rams, Colts, Cardinals, Eagles and Chargers since 2012.
BILL O'BRIEN – PENN STATE – HEAD COACH
CBS Sports reported two weeks ago that the Vikings had contacted O'Brien about their head coaching job, but the latest reports indicate the Houston Texans are very interested in offering him their head coaching job. In fact, ESPN reported Saturday that Houston and O'Brien were working on a deal.
Making the jump from college to the NFL hasn't been a problem for a few recent coaches to take on the challenge.
How will the search for a new head coach go? That’s hard to say.
The Wilfs have only done this twice before. The first time, Brad Childress was hired just four days after former head coach Mike Tice was fired. Childress was let go 4 ½ years in to his tenure, Frazier stepped in as head coach, and that offseason became the eighth head coach in Vikings history.
So there’s not a long history to judge.
One trend in the (admittedly very small) sample size: Highly-regarded coordinators. Childress was a longtime offensive assistant with the Eagles, a long, thick branch growing from the crowded Andy Reid coaching tree.
And Frazier was a hot candidate heading into the 2010-11 offseason. He was viewed as a longtime assistant with an impressive resume, primed to take over an NFL team. Midseason, Business Insider ranked him as one of the 16 best candidates for a top job heading into the 2011 season, noting his success as a defensive coordinator and recent interviews with the Broncos and Rams.