Vikings Connections Plentiful in NFL Carousel

The Vikings have several ties to the coaching carousel around the league in the past several days, from assistants they hired quickly to former coaches in the running for head coaching jobs.

We'll never know for sure, but it might be a good thing that the Vikings have acted so quickly to fill their coaching vacancies. Jobs are starting to be filled around the league, and many of them have a Vikings connection to them.

The Green Bay Packers hired Mike McCarthy as their head coach Thursday, and the fact that the Vikings got Darrell Bevell signed as their offensive coordinator didn't give McCarthy a chance to look at the former Packers quarterbacks coach for a position on his staff. McCarthy is also a former Packers quarterbacks coach, serving for one year under Ray Rhodes.

In Tampa Bay, Bucs defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, a Vikings assistant from 1986-89 and 1991-94, has been in talks with St. Louis Rams President John Shaw about interviewing for their head coaching vacancy. The Rams have received permission to speak with Kiffin. Paul Wiggin, the Vikings pro personnel consultant, said, "Monte Kiffin might not know who the President of the United States is, but he knows football."

News Vikings coach Brad Childress acted swiftly in signing Bucs secondary coach Mike Tomlin to be Minnesota's new defensive coordinator, a position Tomlin likely would have been after in Tampa Bay if Kiffin does end up with the Rams head coaching job.

Had Childress not been hired within a week of Mike Tice's firing and not gone after his coordinators as quickly as he did, Childress might still be looking for a second or third choice.

Mike Mularkey, a Vikings tight end from 1983-88, is resigning as head coach of the Buffalo Bills, according to a published report.

Finally, the coaching circle with the strongest and most recent Vikings tie lies with former head coach Mike Tice.

Tice is one of several coaches interviewing for the head job with the New York Jets. The Jets have already interviewed former Rams interim head coach Joe Vitt, defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson, former Saints coach Jim Haslett, Giants defensive coordinator Tim Lewis and special team coach Mike Westhoff.

Tice, however, might be the most experienced and the best fit. Tice grew up in nearby Central Islip and still holds dear the Long Island area and way of life.

"Mike is a good football coach," Jets general manager Terry Bradway said. "I thought he did a real good job. I think it's a little unfair, the criticism up there, regarding some of the things that did happen. I think with the circumstances he had in Minnesota, he did a good job."

A New York newspaper quoted Tice as saying: "It would be a tremendous opportunity to let the Jets know what my program is all about and how we go about business. Gosh, it would be a great homecoming. Hopefully I get a chance."

Tice is scheduled to interview with the Jets on Monday, and if current Vikings coach Brad Childress wants to retain any of the assistants left from Tice's staff, he might have to do so before then.


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