Linehan Addresses Contract, Coaching Questions

Last summer it was thought that each of the Vikings assistant coaches had received a contract extension through the 2005 season. It was revealed earlier this week that offensive coordinator Scott Linehan turned down that offer. Find out what Linehan had to say about that.

Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan is in his third season in Minnesota. Linehan previously served 14 years as a collegiate coach. He added the position of quarterbacks coach to his title last season.

Under Linehan's direction in 2003, the Vikings offense became the first unit in franchise history to be ranked as the No. 1 offense in the NFL, following a No. 2 ranking in 2002. Along with the No. 1 ranking in the NFL, the Vikings finished last season with 416 points, the second-highest total in franchise history behind the NFL-record 556 points scored in 1998.

Prior to joining the Vikings, Linehan spent three seasons as the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Louisville. During his time there, the Cardinals went to three straight bowl games and became the first team to win consecutive Conference USA Championships (2000 and 2001). Linehan also coached at Washington (1994-98), Idaho (1988-90, 1992-93), Nevada-Las Vegas (1991), and Idaho. Linehan played college football at Idaho from 1982-86.

VU talked to Linehan about why he turned down the extension offer earlier this year and his coaching aspirations.

Q: Players and coaches have repeatedly said all season this is a much better team than last year, yet, the Vikings went into the final game of the regular season needing a win to qualify for the postseason. What makes you believe you're a better team than the win-loss record indicates?

What's different about this year as opposed to even last year, or for sure the year before, is a lot of our losses this year came against good teams on the last play of the game. We just haven't been able to finish them off. It's so frustrating. The only thing that will make it better for any of us is to put us in a position to win the world championship.

Q: How should we analyze your move not to accept a contract extension?

That was a formality. More than anything — and Mike knows this — was he had one year left. I go by the philosophy that I'm not going to work under a contract that's longer than the guy I'm working for. More than anything, the formality is, I want to know who my boss is going to be. I want to be able to know that I'm going to work for Mike Tice. I want to know that I will be doing the same job I accepted when I came here.

Q: The rumors have surfaced. Have you heard from other teams?

They can't [call] and I haven't talked to anybody. That whole thing really is just a formality. It doesn't really mean anything. Hopefully, the organization will want me to continue to be here.

Q: Is being a head coach in college football attractive to you?

I've been a coordinator at all levels. I guess my next goal that I have not reached professionally is a head coach. I haven't put aside the fact that could be college because that's where I've spent most of my time.

Q: What's attractive about college football as opposed to the NFL?

The fanfare around a college game is much different. The pomp and pageantry around college football is big. The youth players all want to be pro players and they realize there is a good chance most of them won't be. Maximizing their talents at the college level is challenging. For me, it's different because I love coaching the talent level of the pro player week in and week out, but there is something about coaching those young kids … They've got that youthful passion. The great pro ones all do.

Q: What's the drawback to college football?

I know recruiting is probably the hardest thing as a college coach and that's considered a negative because we are more business hours when it comes to the offseason in the NFL, so we can spend more time with our family.

Viking Update Top Stories