Colts assistant offered Vikings defensive coordinator job

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN and DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune staff writers
  • Updated: January 19, 2012 - 12:41 PM

The team has offered the defensive coordinator job to Alan Williams. Also, coaches Fred Pagac and Mike Singletary will stay in altered roles.

The dust is about to settle on Leslie Frazier's efforts to alter his coaching staff. According to an NFL source, Frazier and the Vikings have offered Alan Williams their defensive coordinator position and are highly optimistic a deal will materialize to bring the longtime Indianapolis defensive backs coach to the Twin Cities.

In addition, both Fred Pagac and Mike Singletary will remain with the Vikings in altered roles and Brendan Daly will be hired as the new defensive line coach, rejoining a unit he assisted from 2006 to '08 with the Vikings before moving on to St. Louis.

Pagac was informed late last week that he was being removed from his post as defensive coordinator. But he and Singletary will now share responsibility in coaching the linebackers with Pagac moving back into the role he held with the team from 2006 to '10 and Singletary keeping his official title as special assistant to the head coach.

Williams, meanwhile, will take over the defensive controls as the new coordinator, a move that likely will keep the foundation of the team's 4-3, Cover 2 defensive scheme intact.

Williams, 42, has spent the past 10 years with the Colts. He and Frazier worked together with the Indianapolis defensive backs during the 2005 and 2006 seasons when Frazier was a special assistant to Tony Dungy. The Colts won the Super Bowl after the 2006 season and Frazier was then hired to be the Vikings defensive coordinator.

Dungy has been on the record in the past expressing his belief that Williams is a bright leader and a rising star in the NFL ranks, on his way to eventually becoming a head coach. Two years ago, Dungy recommended the Bears take a serious look at Williams for their defensive coordinator opening. But Chicago ultimately promoted defensive line coach Rod Marinelli instead.

Williams played college football at William & Mary, finishing his career in 1991. He later began his coaching career with stints at Norview High School in Virginia (1992 to '95) as well as at William & Mary (1996 to 2000). Before moving onto Indianapolis, he was a defensive quality control assistant in Tampa Bay in 2001, working under Dungy and on a staff that also included Marinelli, Monte Kiffin and Mike Tomlin.

In fact, Williams and Tomlin were teammates for two seasons at William & Mary in 1990 and '91 and are said to share similar skills with their intelligence and ability to communicate with players.

Among the top highlights on Williams' Indianapolis résumé is a 2008 season in which the Colts allowed only six touchdown passes in 16 games. During Williams' 10 seasons in Indianapolis, the Colts finished in the top six of the NFL in passing defense five times.

Williams has been lauded for his ability to develop players and is widely credited for his work with safety Antoine Bethea, a sixth-round draft pick in 2006 who became a Pro Bowler after his second season.

The Colts endured a 2-14 season in 2011, and their defense ranked 25th in the NFL, allowing 370.9 yards per game. It was 15th against the pass (227 yards per game), 29th against the rush (143.9) and 28th in scoring (26.9 points allowed per game).

Now, Williams is in line to take over a Vikings defense that was decimated by injuries and wildly erratic in 2011, finishing 21st in total defense. With Pagac in his first season as defensive coordinator, Vikings opponents averaged 28.1 points per game this past season and opposing quarterbacks posted an astounding 107.6 rating, completing 68.2 percent of their passes for 4,019 yards and 34 touchdowns with eight interceptions.

The Vikings must now hope Williams' first crack at being a defensive coordinator provides greater results. The team also hopes to gain a spark from adding Daly back into the mix. During Daly's first stint with the Vikings, when he was an assistant defensive line coach, the team led the NFL in rushing defense for three consecutive seasons.

Now, with the shake-up nearing completion, the Vikings coaching staff will prepare to head to Mobile, Ala., to coach the North squad at the Senior Bowl. A week's worth of events begins Sunday.

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