Super Possibilities? Part I

The Vikings still haven't named a new defensive coordinator to replace Mike Tomlin, giving legs to the theory that they may be waiting to interview a position coach of a Super Bowl team. We take a look at Chicago's top possibility.

As the Vikings' search for their next defensive coordinator drags out further, some have started to wonder if the underground at Winter Park is waiting until they've had an opportunity to interview potential candidates from the two Super Bowl teams, the Chicago Bears and Indianapolis Colts.

Both teams are considered to run mainly a Cover-2 style of defense similar to the Vikings' approach, but, like the Vikings in 2006 under defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin, the Colts don't always use that popular "Tampa-2" defense, according to a league source. They usually run a zone defense, but at times they like to be aggressive with their safeties, just like the Vikings brought more blitzes than the traditional Tampa-2 defenses.

In order for the Vikings to pluck one of the assistants from another NFL team, it would have to be a promotion for that coach, meaning it won't be another NFL team's coordinator. But if they are waiting to talk to a position coach, there are a couple of possibilities.

In Chicago, the Vikings may have to move with even more speed than when they hired departed coordinator Mike Tomlin last year. It was only a matter of days from the time that Brad Childress was named head coach of the Vikings until he signed former Tampa Bay Buccaneers secondary coach Tomlin as Minnesota's defensive coordinator. But Tomlin's impressive ascent through the coaching ranks brought him to Pittsburgh's top coaching post after only one season as a coordinator.

The difficulty in making a hire from the Chicago Bears' defensive coaching staff might come with the potential promotion of their own defensive coordinator Ron Rivera, who might be a candidate to interview for the Dallas Cowboys' head coaching position after Bill Parcells' retirement last Monday. If Rivera leaves, his successor at coordinator could be Bob Babich, the Bears' assistant head coach/linebackers in 2006.

But, if Babich is a Vikings consideration, Minnesota would likely have to strike with an interview and offer in the days immediately following Sunday's Super Bowl, which is when Babich would be eligible to interview for another position. They would likely have to make a decision on Babich before the Cowboys do on Rivera if they are indeed interested in Rivera as their head coach.

In 2005, Babich coached two linebackers (Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher) into the Pro Bowl, the first time in nearly 20 that two Bears linebackers were given that honor in the same season. Urlacher was named the league's defensive player of the year for 2005, and Babich was given the title of assistant head coach on Jan. 26, 2006. He was Lovie Smith's first hire in 2004 after following him from the St. Louis Rams. The two also coached together at Tulsa from 1984-86.

Babich also has local ties, having coached at North Dakota State University from 1997-2002, where he amassed a 46-22 record as head coach. In addition, Babich coached at the University of Pittsburgh (1994-96) and Wisconsin (1988-89), the latter coming before Childress's time with the Badgers. He has also coached at Texas (1998-2002), Baylor (1997), Georgia (1992-96), and Western Kentucky (1983-91).

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