Vikes Talking to Cottrell

While many teams are waiting to fill their own coaching vacancies until after the playoffs -- when assistant coaches are hot properties -- the Vikings may make a move quicker than that.

It wasn't unusual during the Denny Green era to see coaches get gas-piped after a season that ended in disappointment. The Vikings didn't have to worry about such a coup this year, since it was clear defensive coordinator George O'Leary would be leaving following the season anyway.

But VU has been told his successor may be signed sooner than later. The Vikings have had ongoing discussions with the agent for defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell, recently fired by the Jets.

Cottrell has been in coaching for 20 years, spending the last six as a defensive coordinator with the Bills and Jets. According to our sources in New York, Cottrell butted heads with head coach Herm Edwards, who some sources tell us was concerned more with offense at the expense of defense this last year.

With Cottrell out of a job already and the Vikings looking for a replacement immediately, he would appear to be a good fit with a team lacking of coaches with a wealth of recent NFL experience.

The fly in the ointment could be the league's new minority hiring policy, which requires all teams to interview at least one minority candidate for a head coaching position. Because of his tenure, Cottrell might be a candidate for a head coaching position, so his signing may be put on hold.

But, if the Vikings can get a deal done, it could happen any time. Neither the Vikings nor Cottrell have to wait until after the playoffs to sign. Whether it happens this week or not will be something VU will continue to monitor.

* George O'Leary is expected to be released from Fairview Southdale Hospital in Edina today.
* Kevin Williams was named NFC Defensive Rookie of the Month for December.

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