Spielman patient as others fill vacancies

The Vikings are taking a patient approach to filling their head coaching vacancy even as two other teams already did that.

Anyone who knows Rick Spielman knows that he obsesses on intangibles. He has a litany of red flags on draft prospects that can, at times, outweigh their talent level and what they "put on film" as players.

It would seem that Spielman is going to take the long game approach to filling the Vikings' head coaching vacancy. On Monday following the firing of Leslie Frazier, Spielman pointed out that he has 13 categories of head coaches to consider. With so many pieces to that puzzle, it can be imagined that the Vikings will be putting in an excessive amount of due diligence to get the job done.

There are two typical routes of approaching a head coaching vacancy. You either hit hard and fast and cherry-pick the available assistant coaching candidates or you play the long game and sit by as other staffs are created with pieces of other organizational schemes that you think can create the perfect recipe of ingredients for success.

In the end, Spielman may have the right philosophy. Brad Childress was with the Vikings before Spielman arrived. Leslie Frazier took over after a late-season firing and showed enough in six games to get the "interim" tag taken off his job description. This is the first time Spielman has been put in charge of laying out the pros and cons of the next Vikings head coach.

He said he expects to have a new head coach selected before the Senior Bowl, which begins Jan. 25 down in Mobile, Ala. That's a long time and, if the list includes a team in the Super Bowl, those candidates will either have to agree now or miss the boat.

For those expecting a quick announcement of a new coach and what assistants will stay or go may be in for a longer wait than they think. The Vikings haven't acted fast to this point. The longer it goes, the more pressure there will be to get it right.

Two of the teams that are in competition for new head coaches accomplished their mission, as Houston announced the hiring of Penn State coach Bill O'Brien and the Buccaneers have reached an agreement with Lovie Smith. Those coaches will immediately start assembling their coaching staffs, which will give both a leg up on the competition looking to land fired coaches or college coaches looking to get into the NFL game before the Vikings have their chance to finalize their own head coach/assistant search.


  • A story in USA Today this week quoted several anonymous players saying that Josh Freeman had horrible work habits, was often late for meetings and typically one of the last players to show up at the facility. Suffice it to say, the Vikings likely won't be interested in bringing Freeman back next season.

  • As the Patriots prepare for the playoffs, there have been questions as to how different that team could be had they kept their first-round pick and selected Cordarrelle Patterson. But in one of those win-win trade situations, the picks the Vikings gave New England to draft Patterson turned into linebacker Jamie Collins, cornerback Logan Ryan, wide receiver Josh Boyce and a seventh-round pick that was traded to Tampa Bay for running back LeGarrette Blount. The Vikings got the blue-chip player out of the deal, but the Patriots used the harvest of picks to fill a lot of holes. Patterson has the brightest future, but the Patriots made the most of their end of the deal.

  • Wednesday night, rumors surfaced that Lovie Smith was going to tab Frazier as his defensive coordinator. However, later reports stated he is looking at Rob Marinelli to get back together with Smith. The two worked together in Chicago after Marinelli was fired by the Lions as head coach and replaced by Jim Schwartz, who was among the firings Monday.

  • Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn interviewed with the Cleveland Browns Wednesday. He is scheduled to interview with the Vikings Saturday. Because Quinn's Seahawks are on a bye week before their first playoff game, a league rule allows teams to interview those candidates. The teams that are currently preparing for games this weekend can't have their coaches interviewed this week.

    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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