Cottrell Gives Vikes Valuable NFL Experience

Ted Cottrell gives the Vikings coaching staff an infusion of both "old school" and current NFL experience -- something lacking from the Vikes staff.

When the Vikings signed Ted Cottrell to be their defensive coordinator, they added a wealth of experience to the coaching ranks. Head coach Mike Tice finished his second full year as a head coach -- making the jump without ever being a coordinator. Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan had never coached in the NFL before joining the Vikings in 2002. George O'Leary's only NFL experience prior to coming to the Vikings was as a d-line coach.

Cottrell is a different story. With 21 years of NFL experience, he has worked his way up and around in the NFL -- complete with stops with the Chiefs, Bills and Cardinals as a defensive line coach, a linebackers coach for the Bills and, over the last six years, three years apiece as the defensive coordinator for the Bills and Jets.

Cottrell has run both the 3-4 defense and 4-3 defense and has been praised for developing young players. In addition, with his experience in the AFC East, Cottrell has a wealth of experience coaching against varied offenses -- having faced the innovation of the Colts and the smashmouth play of the Dolphins and Patriots twice a year.

As the only candidate the Vikings bothered to interview, it was clear Cottrell was their choice. His two-year, $750,000 contract assures coaching stability as the team makes plans to hit the free agent market next month.

More than simply filling a vacancy, Cottrell gives the Vikings something the coaching staff was lacking and needed -- experience where it counts.

WEDNESDAY NOTES
* Denny Green continued to put the band back together in Arizona. He has hired former Vikings assistants Alex Wood to be his offensive coordinator, Carl Hargrave and the always controversial Richard Solomon. Word is Sean Salisbury is being looked at as a potential QB coach. The Cardinals are clearly in good hands.

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