Green Coming Back To Coaching?

The questions have started pouring in to VU about Dennis Green from other media outlets, as no less than four cities have become interesting in getting to know more about the hottest coaching free agent.

It began Thursday with an inquiry from a reporter in Dallas about Denny Green's relationship with management and, more specifically, his book outlining a potential mutiny of the 10 owners of the team.

By Saturday, VU was discussing Green with media members from Detroit, Cincinnati and the Bay Area. Green has become a hot property and nobody would be happier to see him get a new job than Red McCombs.

Less than a year after his contact buyout, Green is still due more than $2 million from McCombs next season if he doesn't have a coaching job. That may not have to be paid, since the Cowboys, Bengals, Lions and 49ers are all said to have an interest in Green.

Word got out late Friday that Green has met with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to discuss the coaching vacancy that will be made official tomorrow after Dave Campo cleans out his desk. Jones has made news -- like he always does when Dallas stinks -- by publicly courting Bill Parcells. But there may be some question as to whether either Parcells or Green would accept a position in Dallas, since both know Jones is extremely meddlesome and has the last word on all major decisions -- from who gets drafted to what style uniform and sideline apparel to wear.

The 49ers remain a longshot too, but San Francisco's refusal to sign Steve Mariucci long-term hasn't sat well and a rift is going. As a former assistant with the 49ers, Green would love to head back to the Bay, but this too doesn't look as promising.

More possible are the Lions and Bengals -- perhaps part of Green's personal Year of the Cat. Detroit is likely to fire the M & M Boys -- Mornhinweg and Millen -- whose combined genius has generated 5 wins and 26 losses in 31 games together. Green has always aspired to be a control freak with both coaching and personnel responsibilities given to a general manager. The same would be true in Cincinnati, where the Bengals have been so awful that the NFL has literally stepped in and told Mike Brown to hire a football man or the league will do it on its own. This would be another great spot for Green to be a coach and G.M., and VU has been told Bill Walsh has been working behind the scenes to grease the wheels between the Bengals and Green to get him to the front of the line when Dick LeBeau is cast adrift.

If you liked or hated Green, the primary thing his resume brings is eight playoff appearances in his first nine years as coach and, with teams like the Bengals, Cowboys and Lions, the playoffs are becoming a distant memory. If he does come back, Red saves $2 million and Twin Cities sports columnists can reach for their poison pens again. In the end, it looks like everyone wins.

* The Vikings have won five of the last six games vs. the Lions and seven of the last nine. But Detroit's one win in the most recent six-game stretch came at Detroit last year.
* This will be the Vikings' first appearance at new Ford Field and, considering major renovations that have been made at Soldier Field and Lambeau Field, the Vikings can again contend the need for their own new stadium, since the other three teams in the division have or will soon have greatly improved facilities.
* Detroit has lost seven straight games. The Lions last won Nov. 3 in a 9-7 yawner over Dallas.
* Detroit hasn't scored more than 20 points in its last nine games.
* The Vikings have committed 130 penalties, still the most of any team in the NFL.
* Chris Walsh (back spasms) and Brian Williams (ankle) have both been limited for much of practice this last week, but both are expected to play today.
* The Vikings have 13 interceptions which, while one of the lower totals in the league, is the most by a Vikings team since their 15-1 season in 1998.
* Rookie Jack Brewer has been impressive in recent weeks and will be rewarded today with his first start at free safety.
* Daunte Culpepper will quietly enter the record books for the Vikings today. He will be starting all 16 games at QB for the second time in three years as a starter. Prior to Culpepper doing that in 2000, only Fran Tarkenton has started all 16 games in a season. He did it in 1978 -- the first year of the expanded 16-game schedule.

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