Falcons Frazier-Free

The fears that the Vikings would lose their second defensive coordinator in as many years would seem to have been allayed with the announcement late Wednesday afternoon that the Falcons have hired Jaguars defensive coordinator Mike Smith as their new head coach.

After several failed efforts and multiple coaching interviews, the Atlanta Falcons decided they could no longer wait to see if any of the assistants from the Giants or Patriots would be interested in their head coaching vacancy. As a result, the team offered the job to Jaguars defensive coordinator Mike Smith, who accepted the position late Wednesday.

Smith was one of seven candidates, including Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, who interviewed for the position. Earlier this month, the team offered the job to Cowboys assistant Jason Garrett, but he turned it down to remain offensive coordinator with the Cowboys – which many believe is the first step in becoming the successor to Wade Phillips as the top dog in Big D.

With the Smith hiring, the only current vacant head coaching position is with the Redskins, and it appears Daniel Snyder has reduced his options to two – current Redskins defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and former Giants head coach Jim Fassel. It was believed Fassel was going to get the head coaching job three years ago when, shortly before making an official announcement, Snyder was able to lure Hall of Famer Joe Gibbs out of retirement to return to the NFL.

* The Vikings have been mentioned as one of the teams that might make a strong free agent push for Ravens unrestricted free agent DE/OLB Terrell Suggs. While the Vikings have invested a lot of draft weekends of recent years at the defensive end position, it has yielded mixed results at best. Suggs was a player that caused a furor at Winter Park on Draft Day 2003. The Vikings fan party in the fieldhouse at Winter Park was whipped into a frenzy by the radio announce team broadcasting the event – chanting "Suggs! Suggs! Suggs!" only to have the Vikings select Kevin Williams. At the time, Williams wasn't on the radar of most Vikings fans and when Mike Tice took to the podium following the pick, he was loudly booed and even flipped off by an elderly female fan. In hindsight, the Vikings made the right decision, but are being viewed as one of the top contenders to make a strong push for Suggs in free agency.
* The Vikings may not to have to face one of their biggest defensive pains – Lions DT Shaun Rogers. Reports out of Detroit say the Lions are going to attempt to trade Rogers and, if they can't find a willing trade partner, are prepared to release him. That would be great news for Vikings fans, since Rogers has been a constant source of problems for the Vikings offense over the years.

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