Bieniemy looks like strong Colorado candidate

Vikings running backs coach Eric Bieniemy appears to be one of the leading candidates for the head coaching opening with the University of Colorado. He has the support of different groups rallying for hiring.

It looks more and more like, regardless of how the Vikings finish out the 2010 season and whether or not Leslie Frazier is retained as head coach or not, running backs coach Eric Bieniemy may not be in the picture with the Vikings for 2011.

Bieniemy is gaining a groundswell of support to become the new head coach at the University of Colorado. In Wednesday's edition of The Denver Post, the paper reported that several influential former Colorado players are pressuring athletic director Mike Bohn to hire Bieniemy, who was a star running back during the heyday of the Buffaloes program.

If hired, Bieniemy would likely have to leave the Vikings immediately, given that the first wave of high school recruiting begins this month. The previous frontrunner was Troy Calhoun, the head coach at Air Force. But word got out earlier this week that Calhoun won't be leaving Air Force, opening the door a bit wider and propelling Bieniemy in to the "hot topic" candidate.

Bieniemy is in competition with Houston head coach Kevin Sumlin, Alabama offensive coordinator Jim McElwain and Colorado interim head coach Brian Cabral. There has also been talk that Colorado might be willing to back up the money truck to get Les Miles away from LSU.

The group Buffs for Life, an organization of former Colorado players, have given a unified endorsement of Bieniemy, which, given the fragile world of college football, might hold a lot of sway.

With a decision expected as early as this week, the Vikings may have to be prepared for being in the news again.

THURSDAY NOTES

  • The Vikings were shorthanded without Brett Favre (ankle/neck/right shoulder), Steve Hutchinson (thumb), Greg Lewis (concussion) and Adrian Peterson (ankle). Five others were limited – Percy Harvin (illness), Sidney Rice (hip), Jamarca Sanford (hamstring), Husain Abdullah (ankle) and Chris Cook (knee).

  • After missing most of the last three games, Bernard Berrian fully participated in Wednesday's practice.

  • The Buffalo Bills had eight players who didn't practice Wednesday – offensive linemen Eric Wood (ankle) and Demetrius Bell (knee), TE Shawn Nelson (illness), DLs Dwan Edwards (hamstring) and Torrell Troup (fibula), LBs Chris Kelsay (illness) and Reggie Torbor (shoulder) and CB Terrence McGee (knee).

  • The inclusion of Favre with a neck injury is new. He has been listed in recent weeks with elbow, ankle, foot, chin and shoulder injuries. At this rate, he could simply be listed as questionable with body injuries. He's been fighting illness for over a week as well.

  • Edwards said Wednesday that he hopes to be able to return to the lineup Sunday, but admitted that he suffered a high ankle sprain, which typically takes much longer to heal than an ankle sprain that is the result of "rolling over" the lower ankle. High-ankle sprains are also more likely to recur if a player returns prior to being fully healed.

  • Jared Allen is hosting the first Country Warriors Concert at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3 at the Fine Line Music Cage, featuring country artists Jamey Johnson, Keith Anderson and Chris Jessen. Surprisingly, tickets are $68 each for the event. Given Allen's involvement, $69 would have seemed to make more sense to match his jersey number. Proceed will benefit Jared Allen's Homes for Wounded Warriors, which help veterans coming back from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  • Some future potential bad news for the Vikings comes out of New York. Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks has been sidelined the last two weeks after having surgery to relieve leg swelling called compartment syndrome. He has targeted his return for two weeks when the Giants come to the Metrodome to play the Vikings.

  • You get the feeling that when Favre said Wednesday that he's done playing after this year that he means it.


    John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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