Inside the Minnesota Vikings organization, the team has a couple of in-house possibilities to replace departed defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin, who left to become the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
But if the Vikings opt to go outside the franchise to find their next defensive coordinator, one name being mentioned in different circles is University of Nebraska defensive coordinator Kevin Cosgrove.
Cosgrove's coaching resume had his named being rumored about in the University of Minnesota's search for a head coach, but the Gophers went with former Denver Broncos tight ends coach Tim Brewster. In the small world of coaching circles, Brewster, Cosgrove and Vikings head coach Brad Childress have similar paths.
Cosgrove played at Illinois Benedictine College and Wisconsin-Oshkosh in the mid and late 1970s, and then coached at the University of Illinois as a graduate assistant from 1980-82 and as assistant coach/linebackers from 1983-87 before becoming the defensive coordinator at Southeast Missouri State in 1988.
During his time at Illinois, he overlapped with Childress, who coached there from 1978-84.
But that wouldn't be the only time that Cosgrove's coaching coincided with Childress's. They were both at the University of Wisconsin in the 1990s – Childress from 1991-98 coaching running backs, quarterbacks and as the offensive coordinator and Cosgrove from 1995-2003 as the linebackers coach and defensive coordinator.
In 2004, Cosgrove became the defensive coordinator/inside linebackers coach of Nebraska, where he is currently the coordinator and linebackers coach.
Like the Vikings in the NFL, the Cornhuskers in the NCAA did a good job in stopping the run in 2005, when even BSC teams had trouble running with success against Cosgrove's defense, which stressed the importance of being stout in the interior line. Also like the Vikings, the pass defense wasn't considered as solid, although there were indications of differing personalities within the coaches of the secondary.
Being a Midwest guy, Cosgrove's recruiting emphasis with the Cornhuskers includes Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Philadelphia (all locales where Childress made his mark). All totaled, Cosgrove has more than two decades of experience coaching in the Big Ten between his time at Illinois and Wisconsin, helping the Badgers to three Rose Bowl wins.
Cosgrove is credited with recruiting four NFL first-round selections
In Cogrove's second year as the Huskers coordinator, their defense became the second-ranked unit in the national and led the nation in sacks (50) and tackles-for-loss (10.33 per game).
Cosgrove – like Childress an Illinois native – is six months older than Childress.
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