Rumors, Rumors, Rumors

With eight coaches out, apparently another on the way and the Jets looking to get compensation in return for their coach, the NFL has gone from being a 32-team free for all to little more than a group of gossiping fishwives. VU is listening -- and passing along the whispers for you to decide their validity.

At some point in every offseason, NFL reporters become the journalistic equivalent of fishwives – passing along rumor as fact and willing to discard their sage commentary in many media mediums.

Such is the life in the NFL's frigid version of its own hot stove league. Looking for player information? Punter Chris Kluwe is going to have surgery on right ACL. That's news. Want conjecture? Enjoy.

* A name that has surfaced as a candidate for the Vikings head coaching job is Colts quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell. However, a VU source with the Colts has speculated that the Vikings interest – take it for what it's worth – may be more due to the fact that Caldwell is African American than his viable chance of winning the job. The Vikings had already satisfied the "Rooney Rule" by interviewing defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell.

* The Chiefs have played their way into the coaching carousel controversy. When VU first heard that the K.C. offensive coordinator Al Saunders was going to be interviewed for the Vikings head coaching job, it was viewed as merely a way to enhance his status with the Chiefs – where he was viewed as a hand-picked successor. But the wild speculation in Kansas City goes well beyond that. A radio report had it that Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops was invited to the season finale with the Bengals. Other reports have the team interested in Broncos offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak and former Browns coach Butch Davis. The latest rumor mill faction has the Chiefs looking at Jets coach Herman Edwards. As it stands now, to get Edwards, the Chiefs would have to compensate the Jets. But, it should be noted that K.C. parted with a second- and third-round pick to obtain Dick Vermeil.

* Detroit has also asked permission to speak to Saunders, which could be the coaching version of what the Lions did to the Vikings to secure Dre Bly. Once again, the fishwives have stepped up with the ultimate coaching switcharoo – that the Lions make a move to get Bill Parcells. If Matt Millen can't win with Parcells, it's time to step off to the tune of the Millen Man March.

* Giants defensive coordinator Tim Lewis is yet another name that has surfaced as a potential head coaching candidate for the Vikes.

* If the Packers want Brett Favre to return, Brad Childress would be an ideal candidate. He comes from the same West Coast Offense that spawned Mike Sherman. But, VU Packer peeps are saying that, if the Packers are willing to move on without Favre, they may make Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz an offer he won't refuse.

* Jim Fassel is another name that is omnipresent in Vikings discussion because of his familiarity with the Wilf family. Despite doing a purge of assistants, Brian Billick of the Ravens said that, barring his hiring as a head coach somewhere else, Fassel will be back as his offensive coordinator.

* Gary Zauner wasn´t on the unemployment line for long. After being fired by Billick, he was signed by the Cardinals and Dennis Green. To win a bet, place a wager the Cards won´t run a fake punt or field goal. In the years Zauner and Green were with the Vikings, the team never ran a gadget play from a fake punt, field goal or on-side kick. Just saying.

* Vikings tight end Jermaine Wiggins has endorsed the Vikings to hire Scott Linehan as their new head coach. Linehan was the OC when Daunte Culpepper enjoyed his greatest success. Many thought that Linehan, in his first season with Miami, wouldn't look to jump ship after one season. But VU has been told that he is going to interview with the Texans – making him appear available.

* While Mike Tice has said his current priority is making sure his son graduates from Edina (Minn.) High School with his class, VU has been told that the Cowboys and Ravens both have an interest in adding Tice to their coaching staffs.

* On the Fassel front, Ravens running backs coach Matt Simon was let out of his contract. Why? He believed he wouldn't have a shot at the offensive coordinator job – which has led Baltimore media types to believe Fassel will stay put and wait out the Billick regime. Considering that the Ravens are in the same division as the Bengals, viewed as the next big thing in the AFC, and the Steelers – a team still on the top of its game – perhaps it was a wise move.

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