Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman promised to cast a wide net in his head coaching search, going so far as to create a list of 13 categories in which he classifies potential candidates.
A source confirmed Tuesday that the Vikings have asked permission to interview Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles.
Bowles oversees a Cardinals defense that ranked No. 6 in total defense (317.4 yards per game) and No. 7 in scoring defense (20.3 points per game) this season. As a player, he won a Super Bowl with the Washington Redskins in 1987 and served as the Miami Dolphins interim head coach for the final three games in 2011.
The Vikings also reportedly have expressed interest in interviewing Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase.
Other coaches likely in the mix include Cincinnati Bengals coordinators Mike Zimmer (defense) and Jay Gruden (offense), San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman and Denver defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio.
Five other teams also are in the market for a new head coach, but Spielman said Monday that he won’t rush his search.
“We don’t have ‘a guy,’ ” he said. “I think there’s a lot of potential candidates out there. I don’t think everybody needs to panic [and say], ‘This team already hired a guy. This team already hired a guy. What are the Vikings doing?’ We are going to go through our process and do our due diligence and I think there are enough potential candidates out there that we will be able to get the guy that we want.”
In a radio interview with KFAN’s Paul Allen on Tuesday, Spielman said he began setting up interviews Monday but noted that NFL rules dictate when those face-to-face meetings can take place.
If Spielman wants to interview an assistant coach on a playoff team that plays in a wild-card game this weekend, he must wait until next week. Assistants on playoff teams that have a first-round bye are allowed to interview this week through Sunday.
Per league rules, Spielman is allowed to interview coaches on playoff teams one time during the postseason but can’t have contact again until after their season ends.
The Vikings can interview college coaches or NFL assistants whose teams aren’t in the playoffs at any point after receiving permission.
“This is going to be a very tedious process,” Spielman said on KFAN. “We’re going to interview a lot of guys and we’re going to go through that process to make sure we get the right coach for the Minnesota Vikings.”
Spielman is known for his meticulous approach to research and evaluation of prospects during the draft process. He said he’s taking a similar approach with his first true coaching search. Owners Zygi and Mark Wilf removed the interim label from Leslie Frazier’s title at the end of the 2010 season so there was no coaching search that time.
Spielman said every interview will take place in person and usually last six to eight hours.
“I’ve been a part of the process, but I’ve never led the process,” Spielman said in his radio appearance. “So that’s why I’m very excited about the opportunity to go out there and do this. This is will be my first opportunity to take the lead on the head coaching search.”