This morning, new Vikings general manager Rick Spielman visited with Paul Allen on KFAN. And while it’s far too early for Spielman to offer many specifics in terms of the organization’s strategy for free agency and the draft, what has been clear in the last 24 hours is that the anticipated overhaul to the defensive coaching staff is underway. Former Tampa Bay coach Raheem Morris, fired by the Bucs earlier this week, is at Winter Park as we speak, interviewing for the defensive coordinator position.
Yes, that post is still currently occupied by Fred Pagac, who has yet to be fired or demoted or reassigned or told whatever the team ultimately plans to do with him. But certainly Pagac and the rest of the Twin Cities can read the writing on the wall. Head coach Leslie Frazier is starting to make his moves and the Morris interview is the first significant step in the renovations.
Said Spielman: “What Leslie is doing is we’re evaluating the coaching staff. Leslie will make any announcements on that side of it. But again, as guys are available out there, we’re going to bring them in and kind of interview them and see where they stand.”
The initial feeling on the Vikings’ interest in Morris is that it could reveal Frazier’s intent to preserve the Cover-2, Tampa-2 defense he has been an advocate of throughout his tenure here, first as a defensive coordinator and now as head coach. Morris is a student of the Cover-2, Tampa-2 system.
As for Spielman’s involvement in potential coaching changes, he has asserted he will be more active in collaborating with Frazier, intent on having at least some say in how things are put together. But he also doesn’t want to usurp Frazier’s power in the coaching staff set-up..
“I think that’s important,” Spielman said. “Because the head coach has to bring in the people that understand his scheme, understand what he’s trying to accomplish. And he has to hire people that he thinks are competent at those things, that they can get the things accomplished that need to get accomplished. My goal and my area is to assist him with that. So I’ll be participating in all the interviews, if we do have any news going forward from today, and just giving and expressing my opinion. But again, just like I don’t want anyone to tell me that I need to have this guy as a college scouting coordinator and this guy as my director of player personnel. I think I should have that right to put those people in charge who I think are competent to do that.”
Next week, Spielman has indicated that he will be in detailed meetings to evaluate the Vikings' current roster. Those conversations and reviews will be major as the team attempts to put together a blueprint for free agency, which begins March 13, and for the draft, which will begin April 26.