Vikings target highly ranked coordinators

The Vikings have a handful of coordinators on their radar for head coaching interviews, and for good reason. Many of them are directing highly ranked offenses or defenses. We review their history, along with where their units rank in the top 10 in several statistics.

Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said on Monday he wanted to have interviews lined up with some of his head coaching candidates in three or four days.

But even before Spielman talked about that timeframe Monday afternoon, the reported inquiries had started and the Vikings began requesting permission to talk to several coordinators around the NFL. Among the reported inquiries were three defensive coordinators and two offensive coordinators, two with previous head coaching experience in the NFL and two with previous experience with the Minnesota Vikings.

Here are the summaries of what is out there so far, from biographical information to rankings this year from the offense or defense they controlled.

Todd Bowles, Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator

The scoop: The Browns and Lions reportedly have requested permission to interview Bowles, too, after his first season as defensive coordinator with the Cardinals. In 2012, he split the season between working as defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach with the Philadelphia Eagles. Working in his favor is an affiliation with Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells, for whom Zygi and Mark Wilf have a soft spot. Bowles worked under Parcells with the New York Jets in 2000, Dallas Cowboys in 2005-06 and Miami Dolphins (2008-10).

Prior to the Cardinals: Bowles was promoted from secondary coach to defensive coordinator with the Eagles after six games in 2012 and they finished the season ninth in pass defense. He coached defensive backs for the Washington Redskins (1986-90; 1992-93) and San Francisco 49ers (1991), as well as NFL stints with the Miami Dolphins (2008-11), Dallas Cowboys (2005-07), Cleveland Browns (2001-04) and New York Jets (2000). While with the Dolphins in 2011, he was named their interim head coach for the final three games and posted a 2-1 record.

The rankings: The Cardinals defense finished sixth in total yards, fourth in yards per play, first in rushing yards, second in rushing average, sixth in passing average, eighth in percentage of passes intercepted and seventh in points per game.

Dan Quinn, Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator

The scoop: Quinn was assistant head coach/defensive line coach with the Seahawks in 2009 under Jim Mora and was retained as defensive line coach in 2010 under Pete Carroll. He returned in 2013 as Seattle's defensive coordinator after spending 2011-2012 as Florida's defensive coordinator and having his defense rank in the top 10 in the country in both seasons.

Prior to the Seahawks: In addition to defensive coordinator at Florida, Quinn was defensive quality control coach for the San Francisco 49ers in 2001 and defensive line coach for them from 2003-04. He also coached defensive lines for the Miami Dolphins (2005-06) and New York Jets (2007-08).

The rankings: The Seahawks finished with the top-ranked defense this year in yards, passing yards, passing average, percentage of passes intercepted and points. They were also third in first downs per game, 10th in third-down efficiency, fifth in sacks per pass play and seventh in rushing average and rushing yards per game.

Darrell Bevell, Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator

The scoop: What a reversal this one would be. When Leslie Frazier was given the full-time job as head coach, he decided to let Darrell Bevell go as offensive coordinator after five seasons with the Vikings. Within a matter of weeks, Bevell was coordinating the Seahawks' offense. In that first year, the Seahawks were fifth in rushing yards.

Prior to the Seahawks: In two seasons with the Vikings, Bevell had Brett Favre as his starting quarterback, including 2009 when the Vikings were the second-ranked scoring offense. When he didn't have Favre, the Vikings were more known for their running game with Adrian Peterson, who was a rookie in Bevell's second season when the Vikings set a franchise record with 2,634 yards rushing and a 5.33-yard average per carry. Working with Favre was a theme of Bevell's six years with the Packers, too, where he was quarterbacks coach for the last three years of his tenure there.

The rankings: The Seattle offense doesn't have any one thing mastered, but they are proficient at both running and passing. They are fourth in rushing offense and sixth in passing average, despite not having Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin for much of the season.

Jack Del Rio, Denver Broncos defensive coordinator

The scoop: Del Rio, who played linebacker with the Vikings from 1992-95, served as the interim head coach for the Broncos while John Fox dealt with health issues. He is also in his second season as defensive coordinator for the Broncos after nine years as a head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Del Rio's defenses have ranked sixth or better in nine of 15 seasons as a position coach, coordinator or head coach in the NFL. Last year, the Broncos finished second in yards per game (291) and third in passing yards (200) and rushing yards (91), and tied for the league lead in sacks.

Prior to the Broncos: Spent nine season as head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars (2003-11), with a defense ranking in the top 10 in yards per game, points per game and rushing yards per game during that nine-year stretch. Still, they made the playoffs just twice during his time there. He also spent time as a defensive coordinator with Carolina in 2002, linebackers coach for the Baltimore Ravens (1999-2001), and assistant strength coach (1997) and linebackers coach (1998) with the New Orleans Saints. He played linebacker for the Saints (1985-86), Kansas City Chiefs (1987-88), Dallas Cowboys (1989-91) and Vikings (1992-95).

The rankings: His Broncos defense is 19th in yards per game this year, while a seventh-place tie in rushing yards per game is the only top-10 ranking for the defense.

Adam Gase, Denver Broncos offensive coordinator

The scoop: Gase is in his first year as offensive coordinator with the Broncos and, at 34, is the NFL's fourth-youngest offensive coordinator. He spent two years (2009-10) working with their receivers and two more (2011-12) with their quarterbacks. The question the Vikings will have to figure out is how much of Denver's offensive success is due to his influence and how much is attributable to having Peyton Manning at quarterback. In 2012, the Broncos finished fourth in the NFL with 397.9 yards per game and averaged 30.1 points per game with Gase working with Manning as a first-year Bronco. In 2011, Gase worked with Tim Tebow, who posted an 8-5 record as the starter in Denver's final 11 regular-season and two playoff games. Tebow threw 12 interceptions and six interceptions. As a receivers coach, Gase worked with Brandon Marshall and Brandon Lloyd.

The drawback is that he won't interview for head coaching possibilities until the Broncos complete their season.

Prior to the Broncos: Gase was an offensive assistant with the 49ers in 2008 and spent three seasons with the Detroit Lions prior to that. He also coached at LSU.

The rankings: The Broncos finished with the top-rated offense, first in passing yards and 15th in rushing yards. They were second in total yards per play and first in passing average, sacks per game and first downs per game.


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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