Coaching staff influencing scouting

With several new coaches on offense, including offensive coordinator, the type of player the Vikings want could be changing at certain positions. Rick Spielman talked about the adjustment and the learning process needed in the personnel department.

Leslie Frazier's coaching staff has been in place for a few weeks now, but the ramifications of his decisions will be felt for years to come.

More immediately, Frazier's decisions on the coaching staff will impact the personnel department as they scout college players and look to add veteran players whenever free agency starts. As the schemes are tweaked and the philosophies molded, it will affect what kind of players the Vikings are searching for at different positions.

During the week of Senior Bowl practices in Mobile, Ala. two weeks ago, vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman's scouting staff was compiling opinions on players, but the process of finding out which of those players best suit the schemes of the coaches now on board was just beginning. Spielman was spending extra time after practices meeting with coaches, including offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave.

"We got an opportunity when the coaches came in for interviews to sit down with them a little bit and get their ideas, and spending time with the new coaches (during the week of Senior Bowl practices), we have learned what they're looking for at positions and specifics of what they're going to run on offense and what type of quarterback Bill is looking for to run his offense," Spielman said. "That's all part of the process – there may be different thoughts on what they're looking for, for the position specifics that you may have normally looked at with another staff."

The Vikings are still expected to have primarily a West Coast offense with some influences from different coaches Musgrave and other assistants have worked with. But offensive line coach Jeff Davidson may be looking for different characteristics in his linemen than former line coaches Pat Morris and Bill Hueber, who were let go after the 2010 season. Running backs coach James Saxon, who was the last position coach to join the staff, has his top two backs already established in Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart, but the Vikings could look to add depth at the position in the draft. But more than anything, Musgrave's philosophies will determine what exactly the Vikings are looking for with their incoming offensive players.

The Senior Bowl was the first chance for members of the coaching staff to talk to the prospects and try to get to know them beyond their physical capabilities.

"This process (in Mobile) was, we had all of our coaches down here and we interviewed every kid down here," Spielman said at the Senior Bowl. "We interviewed over 90 kids over the last two days. Just to get the chance for our coaches to get in front of some of these kids so they can figure out not only what they are as football players, but figure out who they're going to be coaching. I think that's a major part of the process so you understand what you're bringing into the building."

Spielman and the coaching staff continued to meet and compile information upon their return from the Senior Bowl, and then the process started with the free agents. While not much is expected to change with the style of defense or the type of players the personnel department is looking to acquire, there could be modifications to the type of player the Vikings are looking for on offense.

That will be one of the challenges facing Spielman and his staff over the next few months as Frazier's roster takes shape.

Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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