Vikings Hope to End Coaching Carousel

In what has become an exhausting piece of business, the Vikings finally hope to end their special teams coaching search this week.

The Vikings likely never could have imagined hiring a special teams coach would be so difficult. Under Gary Zauner, things were pretty simple -- in his tenure with the Vikings, the team never tried a fake punt or field goal, so the job was primarily simply snapping, kicking and coverage.

However, the Vikings' search for a special teams replacement for Zauner has become as big a mystery as the Tampa Bay head coaching saga. On Monday, the Vikings interviewed Tampa Bay assistant Kevin O'Dea, who VU has been told had a great interview and is one of the top two or three candidates to finally fill the position.

Mike Tice hopes to finish the process today when he interviews Virginia Tech assistant coach Danny Pearman, the 13th different coach to interview for the position.

Pearman may be perceived as a long shot, since O'Dea and former Steelers special teams coach Jay Hayes are being viewed by some as the top candidates, as well as positive things being said about Carolina assistant Darrin Simmons.

After today, the long coaching search nightmare may finally be over and the Vikings will have a complete coaching staff for 2002.

* The Ravens made official what VU reported a couple of weeks ago, announcing the signing of Zauner to serve as their special teams coach, reuniting him with former Viking assistant Brian Billick.
* In other coaching news, does Daniel Snyder want to buy VU? If he's willing to shell out the kind of money he's currently throwing around, Lurts will gladly sell and move to Tahiti. Monday, he announced the signing of defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis. Under the terms of his contract, he can make up to $1 million a year -- an $850,000 base salary plus performance incentives from the Redskins defense. By comparison, Tice will make $600,000 this year as the Vikings head coach. Last month, Snyder made Steve Spurrier the highest paid coach in NFL history with a $5-million-a-year-contract and spent $7.5 million to get rid of Marty Schottenheimer. Does this guy stoke his fireplace with $100 bills? It sure seems like it.

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