Willie Shaw is about as respected a coach as there is in the NFL. He has made successful defenses everywhere he has coached and was one of the primary reasons veteran Greg Biekert wanted to come to Minnesota.
Tuesday, after a pair of disappointing seasons -- the last as defensive coordinator -- Shaw was fired and replaced by George O'Leary. Both Shaw and O'Leary were out scouting the East-West Shrine Game in San Francisco, so it was apparent that even Shaw wasn't seeing the other shoe dropping before the hammer came down.
Shaw came to the Vikings in 2001 under Dennis Green as a defensive backs coach and assistant head coach. At the time, it was clear he was wielding as much power as then-defensive coordinator Emmitt Thomas. When Green was fired at the end of the 2001 season, Thomas soon followed and Shaw was appointed defensive coordinator. While Shaw has been known for being a great defensive backs coach, VU was told his unwillingness to embrace using digital technology to scout other teams and carry around a laptop computer to be able to scout defenses at any time was a contributing factor to his demise.
The move involved several changes to the staff. O'Leary, who earned raves for helping along with the emergence of Chris Hovan and the Vikings run defense, will retain his duties as defensive line coach. Pete Bercich has ascended to the position of assistant D-line coach. Chuck Knox Jr. will take over as defensive backs coach with former Bengals d-back Kevin Ross as assistant DB coach.
VU has been told the changes likely aren't done and that the Vikings may be dropping the bomb on special teams coach Jay Hayes within the next couple of weeks after the coaches get done scouting the East-West Shrine Game and Senior Bowl.
Shaw Fired, O'Leary Named DC
Viking Update Top Stories
Fusco: O-line problems correctableAs players and coaches watched film of Sunday's loss to Philadelphia, more than a few them got an uneasy feeling. Not because the Eagles dominated them as much as it appeared, but…
Viking Update4:15 AM
Vikings sign 3 to practice squad, release 3The Minnesota Vikings shook up their practice squad on Tuesday, signing three – including an offensive lineman – and releasing three.
Viking UpdateYesterday at 1:34 PM
Long: No excusesJake Long was only on the field for 13 plays Sunday at Philadelphia, but two of those resulted in turnovers that cost the Minnesota Vikings offense from putting up points. On…
Viking UpdateYesterday at 12:55 PM
Did rotating tackles affect Vikings?The Minnesota Vikings took the unusual step of rotating their offensive tackles in the first half of Sunday’s loss. Did that affect their performance? Alex Boone reacted to that,…
Viking UpdateYesterday at 12:42 PM
Cutler’s back, drawing angry Vikings defenseThe Bears announced Monday that, in the midst of Chicago’s World Series frenzy, local goat Jay Cutler will be making his return to playing action. How will it go? The Minnesota…
Viking UpdateMonday at 10:02 PM