Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton will get his chance to impress Vikings general manager Rick Spielman on Tuesday during an interview for Minnesota's vacant head coach job. Detroit Lions beat writer Dave Birkett first reported that Horton would interview with the Vikings.
Horton may have to bring his best to the interview based on what NFL Network's Ian Rapoport is reporting.
As for Horton, the Cleveland Browns website says he has served 19 years in the NFL as a coach. He was hired by the Browns last year after holding the same defensive coordinator position with the Cardinals during the 2011 and 2012 seaons.
According to the Star Tribune, Horton guided the Cardinals to back-to-back seasons finishing top-two in the NFL on third-down defense. This season, he helped the Browns finish with a top-10 defense in total yards (332.4 ypg) and the NFL's eighth ranked pass defense – an attractive stat considering the Vikings finished 31st against the pass, allowing 287 yards per game.
The Vikings were scheduled to interview Arizona defensive coordinator Todd Bowles on Monday, which went very well, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.
Interviews with Bowles and Horton would satisfy the NFL's Rooney Rule, which requires teams hiring a head coach to interview at least one minority candidate, according to the Pioneer Press.
Minorities went 0-15 in attempts to land head coaching jobs last season, according to the Akron Beacon Journal Online. Horton was one of the 15, but he said he believes the Rooney Rule worked.
“This is my personal opinion and I can’t speak for anybody else, whether minority or not or whatever that label may be,” he said. “I respect the process. I think it worked because every NFL team this year hired a guy they thought was going to lead them to victory. I don’t think there was one owner that said, ‘I’m hiring this guy because I think he’s going to run my program into the ground.’ So does it work? Sure it works.”
Ben Volin of the Boston Globe recently asked Harry Carson, the Executive Director of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, which helped create the Rooney Rule, if the rule is working.
“We have a good sense as to whether some of the interviews by owners and GMs are legitimate interviews, or interviews to satisfy the Rooney Rule,” Carson said. “I think we’re getting good cooperation from clubs. Last year we were disappointed, and I think the commissioner [Roger Goodell] and Mr. [Dan] Rooneywere disappointed with the lack of minorities being hired with positions. Hopefully, this year will be different.”
Marvin Lewis of the Bengals, Ron Rivera of Carolina, Lovie Smith of Tampa Bay and Mike Tomlin of the Steelers are the only minority head coaches in the NFL today.