Have Experience, Will Travel

Two former Vikings coaches have emerged as frontrunners for a pair of head coaching vacancies in the NFL.

Two former Vikings coaches have emerged in recent days as the frontrunners for a pair of job openings with other teams and one or both could find out soon if the call to head coaching is for them.

Mike Tice and Scott Linehan weren't seen as coaching frontrunners earlier in the month -- Tice having just been fired unceremoniously by the Vikings and Linehan seemingly content in his first year as offensive coordinator with Nick Saban and the Dolphins. But that situation has changed dramatically in recent days.

Tice will interview Sunday night and Monday for the vacant Jets head coaching position -- a job that became available when the Jets traded coach Herman Edwards to the Chiefs for a fourth-round pick in April's draft. In fact, the best thing that could have happened to Tice was if the Patriots had won Saturday night. By league rules, teams can't hire assistant coaches of teams in the playoffs until after they're done playing, which would have kept hot head coaching prospect Eric Mangini -- the Patriots defensive coordinator -- off the market.

Instead, Mangini has now made it a two-horse race for the Jets job opening, where some in the local media have already compared Tice to the much-maligned former Jets head coach Rich Kotite -- the last native New Yorker to coach the Jets. There has been speculation that Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has tried to talk Mangini out of making himself available to the Jets, but he is expected to interview for the position Sunday. VU has been told that a final decision will be made by the Jets as early as Monday or Tuesday.

As for Linehan, his name came up briefly in discussions when the Vikings job opening came about, but it was believed that he was satisfied in Miami to stay with that building program. But he interviewed for the Texans job opening and now appears to be a frontrunner for the Rams vacancy.

By the end of this week we should know the fate of both coaches and, in that time frame both could get new jobs as the head man somewhere else -- or neither.

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