After beating the Vikings 39-10 and 17-13 during the regular season, the Chicago Bears are still finding ways to make life difficult for Leslie Frazier, who, it's worth noting, once was a standout cornerback in Chicago.
As Frazier continues to search for a new defensive coordinator -- he formally removed Fred Pagac from that post late last week -- his interest in Bears defensive backs coach Jon Hoke was blocked. According to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune, the Vikings requested permission to interview Hoke for their coordinator opening but were denied. Hoke still has one year left on his contract in Chicago. And it's possible the Bears didn't want to help out their division rival.
Still, this isn't the first time Lovie Smith and the Bears have shot down a request from another team to talk with one of their assistants. According to the Tribune, Chicago's offensive line coach Mike Tice wasn't allowed to interview for an offensive coordinator position in Tennessee last year, instead given a raise by the Bears. Writes Biggs:
It remains to be seen if the Bears will add a year to Hoke's deal or give him a bump in pay. Teams are only required to grant permission for assistants under contract to interview with other teams when a head-coaching position is involved.
"Hopefully, we'll have some guys on our staff get an opportunity to move up, whether that be assistant coaches moving into coordinator's roles," Smith said Jan. 2. "Or I'd like to see someday where some guys on our staff will get an opportunity to become head coaches in the NFL."
Looks like these divisional rivalries still have some teeth. Let's not forget that in December when the Vikings attempted to sign receiver Tori Gurley off the practice squad in Green Bay,
rather than joining the Vikings' 53-man roster.
As far as the current search for a defensive coordinator, Jason La Canfora of the NFL Network reported on Monday evening that Colts defensive backs coach Alan Williams was expected to interview with Frazier and the Vikings on Tuesday.