Mike Singletary appears to be eyeing the Vikings as his next coaching home, according to reports. Singletary is being courted by former teammates Leslie Frazier (in Minnesota) and Ron Rivera (in Carolina).
In a week where their professional alma mater is hosting the NFC Championship Game, former teammates on the 25th anniversary season of the 1985 Super Bowl champion Chicago Bears
are in competition to woo their old lead guitarist to put the band back together.
Prior to his being hired as the head coach of the Carolina Panthers
last week, Ron Rivera was best known as a professional interview for head-coaching openings. Like Leslie Frazier, he was a head-coaching candidate that was an oft-mentioned name in coaching vacancies, but neither was ever able to seal the deal. Some claimed (which many believe rightly) that both Frazier and Rivera were interviewed simply to comply with the Rooney Rule, which states a team must interview at least one minority candidate before choosing a head coach. Former Vikings coach Dennis Green refused to interview for a couple of head coaching vacancies citing the same reason.
Yet, within two weeks of one another, Frazier and Rivera were both hired as NFL head coaches and both have their sights on the same guy – former teammate and deposed 49ers head coach Mike Singletary – to add to their staff. Both are looking to fill vacancies as a linebackers coach and both have long histories with each other.
Frazier and Singletary were roommates as rookies in 1981 with the Bears and grew together into one of the most dominant defenses in the history of the game. Rivera was a fellow linebacker who spent years as not only a teammate, but as a position-mate of Singletary's. Both of them can make a persuasive argument as to why Singletary should put the band back together with either forming group of coaches.
The league's official website is claiming that Singletary is closer to joining up with the Vikings coaching staff than he is following Rivera to Carolina. But, one thing seems clear – both the Vikings and Panthers have big plans on revamping their defenses and both involve Singletary as being part of the equation.
Two of the team's more popular assistant coaches – defensive line coach Karl Dunbar and wide receivers coach George Stewart – are both going to be retained, Frazier told the Star Tribune, amid question marks across the offensive, defensive and special teams aspects of the future configuration of the Vikings coaching staff.
In all four of last weekend's games, it seemed that teams didn't so much impose their will to win games, but opponents took themselves out of games by self-implosions. The Ravens led by 14 at halftime, but self-destructed in the second half and never recovered. A pick-six before halftime by Tramon Williams gave the Packers a commanding halftime lead they wouldn't surrender. The Patriots got cute in the final minute-plus of the first half down 7-3, getting the kick to start the second half, and tried a fake punt that was botched and eventually sniffed out. The result was a 14-3 halftime deficit New England never recovered from. Only the Bears imposed their will on the feckless Seahawks, who only had the look of a playoff-caliber team after Chicago had gone deep into a prevent defense in the fourth quarter protecting a big lead.
With both No. 1 seeds going down over the weekend, the record of teams with byes over the last six years is a meager 12-12 – giving rise to the speculation that having a bye week is just as likely to get you saying "bye-bye" early in the playoffs.
With the storied history of the Packers-Bears rivalry, next Sunday will be just the second time the two franchises have met in the postseason. The only other meeting was Dec. 14, 1941 – a week after the Pearl Harbor attacks that got the U.S. involved in World War II and almost killed off the NFL as it was known at the time.
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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