Vikings Combine Cleanup Notebook

The Combine finished up Tuesday, and we're just getting started on a plethora of notes of interest to Vikings fans. See what Tom Coughlin had to say about Vikings V.P. Fran Foley, and what former Vikings coaches Scott Linehan and Dennis Green have to say about their past and their future.

Vikings vice president of player personnel Fran Foley is taking a quiet approach when it comes to discussing the team's intentions in free agency and the draft. He's looking to keep a competitive advantage over other teams. While Foley isn't saying much, Giants coach Tom Coughlin had strong reviews for the talents of Foley.

Foley worked under Coughlin when the two were in Jacksonville, Coughlin as the head coach and Foley working in the personnel department, where he was assistant director of pro personnel from 1994-97 before becoming the director of pro scouting from 1998-2002.

Previously Foley worked for Coughlin when they were at Boston College.

"He was the first guy I brought with me when I went to Jacksonville, which was about two weeks ahead of any of the coaches that I brought with me, so you know how important he was to me," Coughlin told Viking Update. "He is very, very intelligent. He's very well organized. He's an outstanding evaluator of talent. He'll be a great asset to that organization."

Coughlin also said Foley is versatile. Despite having more experience in pro personnel, Coughlin didn't think the college side of scouting would suffer in Minnesota.

"He's scouted on both levels (college and pro). If you know anything about that position of recruiting coordinator, you know that it's a jack of all trades. He's the liaison to everybody. He allows that you have great feelings toward the university about what you're doing in the football office," Coughlin said.

While Coughlin moved on to become head coach of the Giants, Foley moved to San Diego to work in its personnel department, where he was the director of pro scouting from 2003-2005 before joining the Vikings. Coughlin said there just wasn't a position open at the top level of the Giants scouting department to bring Foley there.

"I would have loved to have been able to do that. Really, there was no position availability," he said.


Former Vikings offensive coordinator Scott Linehan was also busy at the Combine, his first time there as a head coach. Linehan spent last year as offensive coordinator of the Miami Dolphins before taking the head job at St. Louis this year.

"I feel very lucky and fortunate to be in this position. The biggest thing is I've been very lucky to be involved with the people I've worked for or worked with," he said.

Times have changed dramatically for Linehan in four short years, going from an unknown in NFL circles to one of the hottest offensive coordinators around after Mike Tice hired Linehan away from the University of Louisville.

"When I was (at the Combine) four years ago, I remember sitting around in the (RCA) dome and didn't really know anybody. I knew a few people. My challenge then was figuring out what I was going to do with the Minnesota Vikings offense. That's the way I looked at it. I didn't really approach it from where I'd be four years from then," Linehan said.

Now he's a head coach for the first time and Tice is an assistant in Jacksonville. Linehan called his one season under Dolphins coach Nick Saban one of the most valuable years of his career.


Another former Vikings coach making the interview rounds at the Combine was Dennis Green. While Green could sometimes be evasive with his answers as head coach in Minnesota, he has been fairly forthcoming with information at the Combine the last two years as coach of the Arizona Cardinals.

Last year, Green waxed on about California running back J.J. Arrington, and, sure enough, two months later the Cardinals were drafting Arrington in the second round.

This year, Green cautioned against believing that the Cardinals would make a strong push to sign players like Edgerrin James and Shaun Alexander in free agency.

"We have not had a blockbuster deal, and a blockbuster deal is a deal that, I feel, eats up most of your cap space. It means you get one player, one and done, and we're not going to do that," Green said. "So if you're asking if we're going to go after one of the incredible backs that might be out there in a blockbuster deal, that probably will not happen. I don't think we'll go one and done. I think we'll go get four, five, maybe six free agents."

Green said Arrington just needs more time and a better offensive line to have a chance to become a top rusher again.

"What he needs is another chance to go in and show he is the player we thought when we drafted him as the 44th player in the draft, the player that he was when he led the nation in rushing," Green said.

Helping to shape the Cardinals offensive line will be former Vikings offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Steve Loney. Green hired Loney shortly after he was let go in Minnesota in January. He takes over for former Viking Everett Lindsay, who coached the Cardinals offensive line last year.

"I think Steve will make a big difference. He's got a lot of experience. He knows the system and was in the system for a long period of time," Green said, referring to the system he implemented in Minnesota before Tice replaced him.


  • What's the most difficult position for a former college player to make a big impact in right away at the professional level? Probably quarterback, and then after that it might be offensive tackle. "You'd rank that very high as far as level of difficulty coming out," Coughlin said of offensive tackle. "There's an awful lot of pressure placed on that individual as well because of the nature of the position. I think any rookie playing in this league is difficult."

  • Speaking of quarterbacks, before the topic of Vince Young's Wonderlic score became an issue, there was talk of his throwing motion. Linehan, who has had success tutoring quarterbacks in college and the pros, said changing too much in Young's motion would be a mistake. "As far as doing too many radical things, I think you can set a guy back in that case," Linehan said. "I think you can just do some subtle things that will make it better."

  • The Vikings will be in the market—free agent and college—for linebackers, and one possibility at the free agent level is Giants linebacker Nick Greisen. He might become available in a few days.

    "We want everybody, we want them all," Coughlin said when asked about Greisen and other free agents. "Reality is, can you have them all? That's something that's going to have to play out. … Statistics tell you you're not going to have them all."

  • The lack of a Collective Bargaining Agreement meant that the Tennessee Titans had to get creative in re-signing defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch, giving him less of a signing bonus but more guaranteed salary in future years. Without an extension of the CBA, teams can only spread signing bonuses over four years, so there could be more guaranteed salaries if the league and players association can't come to an agreement before Friday. Talks between the two sides broke off Tuesday with no more scheduled.

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