While former Minnesota Vikings defensive line coach Karl Dunbar stood outside the fence lining the field of Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala., he watched his former assistant of three years in Minnesota, Brendan Daly, put the college all-stars through their paces on the defensive line.
Dunbar was officially fired last week, although he figured the move was coming, but he still doesn't know why. Dunbar said he was never told why the Vikings fired him and said he thought he was on good terms with head coach Leslie Frazier, who acknowledged that the decision was all his.
Dunbar said knowing why he was fired would help ease his transition, but Frazier was also vague with reporters when asked why Dunbar was fired. Frazier it wasn't really philosophical differences that led to Dunbar's firing.
"No. Just like I've said before, I have a lot of respect for Karl. Karl did a great job for us when he was here," Frazier said. "Did a terrific job. Have nothing but respect for what Karl did."
Still, Dunbar ended up leaving despite a year left on his contract and despite coaching a defensive line that featured Jared Allen setting an all-time franchise record with 22 sacks.
Frazier replaced Dunbar with Daly, who had left the tutelage of Dunbar to take over the defensive line with the St. Louis Rams in 2009. Dunbar remained classy when discussing the situation, saying he thinks Daly will do a good job for the Vikings. Naturally, so does Frazier.
"Now Brendan gets an opportunity. Looking forward to watching him work with our guys and see how they continue to move forward," Frazier said.
While the defensive scheme may not change much, there is an obvious difference in style between Dunbar, who is more laid back, and the higher-energy Daly.
"I remember when he was here with us and I always thought he was a guy that was coming. When he got his opportunity to be the lead guy and he did as well as he did in St. Louis, I wasn't completely surprised," said Frazier, who sat in on some of the defensive line meetings Daly conducted with the college all-stars on the Senior Bowl's North squad.
"Just watching the maturation of Brendan has been so impressive to me. And then I've had a number of people that called me and told me how good of a coach he is from St. Louis, and that's encouraging. Whenever I watched him on tape and we played a common opponent, I'd see that defensive line of his and say, man, those guys are playing hard. And they didn't have the kind of talent that we have in Minnesota, but they played hard and they made a lot of plays."
Chris Long, the former first-round pick of the Rams, was fourth among NFL defensive ends in 2011 with a career-best 16 sacks.
Frazier said he talked to former St. Louis head coach Steve Spagnuolo about Daly and received "very positive" feedback about Daly's performance there.
The energy part? Well, that's apparent even to outside observers, just as it is to Frazier.
"A lot of energy, a lot of enthusiasm," Frazier said. "That's contagious. That carries over. We need that. That will be a plus for us."
As for Dunbar, he said earlier in the week that he was waiting for the remaining head-coaching jobs to be filled in the NFL and hoping to garner some interviews there. If not, he is still being paid from the Vikings but doesn't plan to remain in Minnesota.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
While Dunbar waits, Daly endorsed by Frazier
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