The Vikings may have a frontrunner in their search for a new head coach – a position that became available 11 days ago when General Manager Rick Spielman informed Leslie Frazier that he was being relieved of his duties.
Minnesota never got a chance to interview Gruden, who the Vikings reportedly requested permission to chat with.
If Schefter is correct and Zimmer is the leading candidate for the Vikings job, then he's apparently been more impressive than Seahawks coordinators Darrell Bevell and Dan Quinn, Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton, all of whom have interviewed for the job, according to ESPN.
The Vikings still hope to interview 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman, Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase and Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio. If Niners Nation is accurate, the Vikings will also eventually interview 49ers defensive line coach Jim Tomsula.
Whisenhunt and Del Rio are the only former head coaches. Whisenhunt led the Cardinals to a Super Bowl appearance in 2009. Del Rio was the Jaguars head coach from 2003-2011. Teams that hire coordinators as first time head coaches fail more often than not.
"The criteria was established based on the fact that the NFL is different than the collegiate scene," McNair told ESPN. "So that's why we wanted some NFL experience. In terms of being a head coach versus a coordinator, if you look at the record, the record is that coordinators have failed much more than they have succeeded. Like 40 percent or so have made it as opposed to those who have been head coaches. The statistics back up what we were doing but there was a reason for doing it and that is if you move from being a coordinator to a head coach, it's a different position."
Former Vikings offensive coordinator and Super Bowl winning coach of the Ravens Brian Billick would like to see Del Rio get the job. Billick told the Pioneer Press that Del Rio would be an "excellent choice" because of the job he did in Jacksonville, which he called a "tough spot."