Vikings' coaching search is on

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 31, 2013 - 12:47 AM
hide

Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman spoke about examining new schemes as part of the coaching search. “I am very excited … to talk to a lot of different people to see their philosophies,” he said.

Photo: Elizabeth Flores, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Two minutes, 26 seconds. In NFL time, that’s long enough to turn 10 victories into five, contract extensions into firings and the status quo into the upheaval of a franchise’s core offensive and defensive philosophies.

Two minutes, 26 seconds. That’s the combined time left on the clock this season when the Vikings blew last-minute leads in regulation against Chicago (10 seconds), Cleveland (51), Dallas (35), Green Bay (46) and Baltimore (4).

That, according to General Manager Rick Spielman, also was an unacceptable trend that helped owners Zygi and Mark Wilf determine that Monday was the time to fire head coach Leslie Frazier.

Presumably, the team also will say goodbye to its conservative 4-3, Tampa 2-based defensive scheme and hello to a more imaginative offense that incorporates some of the spread concepts from the college game while maintaining enough carries for face of the franchise Adrian Peterson.

“There are so many [schemes] going out there,” Spielman said. “I am very excited about the process, just to learn and to talk to a lot of different people to see their philosophies.”

Spielman said he heads into the process with a blank slate. Then, to prove his point, he announced his candidates fall into 13 different categories covering each level of experience at the college and professional ranks. He wouldn’t say how many people he’ll interview, but he joked that ownership will be very busy over the next three or four days. He also said a decision won’t be rushed to predate the Senior Bowl in late January, which is the usual target date for teams needing a new coaching staff.

Two minutes, 26 seconds. While Frazier and some players referred to that as proof that major changes weren’t warranted, ownership and Spielman viewed it as enough evidence that the team’s offensive and defensive philosophies — particularly the four-minute offense and two-minute defense that’s critical to finishing off games — needed a reboot.

“I understand how difficult change is for people and how difficult change is because it’s the unknown,” Spielman said. “But I also know sometimes when you make that change, it also can bring a spark as well.”

Different look

Defensively, the Vikings will move away from the Tampa 2-based scheme for the first time since Mike Tice was the coach in 2005. With only four core starters returning — left end Brian Robison, outside linebacker Chad Greenway, cornerback Xavier Rhodes and free safety Harrison Smith — the potential for a significant change in scheme is greater on defense.

Of course, other factors would include ranking 31st in third-down defense and coming within four points of matching the franchise record for most points allowed in a single season (484).

“I wouldn’t just say it’s just the scheme,” said strong safety Jamarca Sanford, “but at the end of the day, we kind of need a change around here. I’ve been here for five years and we’ve been running the same thing. Not saying that it didn’t work, but a change can be for the good.”

With right end Jared Allen and Kevin Williams, a 4-3 defensive tackle, unlikely to return, that clears the way for a possible switch to one of the increasingly popular 3-4 schemes out there.

“We’ll look at all that,” Spielman said. “It will be interesting when you talk to a lot of these coaches, whether it’s a 3-4 or a 4-3, or some teams run a 4-3 with a hybrid 3-4.”

Unlike Allen, who always resisted any suggestions that the team switch to a more unpredictable 3-4 scheme, Robison said he’d welcome change.

“I feel I could play a 3-4 outside linebacker,” he said. “I feel like I’ve already proven I could play a 4-3 end. So I’m open to whatever gets us a lot more wins than we had this year.”

Building blocks

Two of the team’s four core defenders — Robison and Greenway — will be 31 next season. But there were signs of younger players such as linebacker Audie Cole and safety Andrew Sendejo taking the next step this season.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Mets 3 FINAL
St. Louis 2
Pittsburgh 4 FINAL
Atlanta 2
Miami 7 FINAL
Washington 11
Detroit 4 FINAL
Philadelphia 4
Minnesota 6 FINAL
Baltimore 5
NY Yankees 7 FINAL
Houston 0
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Boston 3
Baltimore 4 FINAL
Toronto 2
Cincinnati 8 FINAL
LA Angels 6
Chicago Cubs 7 Bottom 9th Inning
Kansas City 0
Los Angeles 8 Bottom 8th Inning
San Francisco 9
Chicago WSox 4 FINAL
Cleveland 1
Milwaukee 0 FINAL
Oakland 7
Seattle 5 FINAL
San Diego 8
Texas 5 Bottom 8th Inning
Los Angeles 10
Colorado 9 Bottom 9th Inning
Arizona 7
Arizona 1 FINAL
Colorado 2
Houston 99 FINAL
Washington 91
LA Lakers 99 FINAL
Brooklyn 107
Minnesota 88 FINAL
New Orleans 110
Philadelphia 86 FINAL
Cleveland 87
Detroit 42 2nd Qtr 1:19
Miami 47
LA Clippers 68 2nd Qtr 0:30
Boston 45
Dallas 6:00 PM
Indiana
Memphis 6:00 PM
San Antonio
Oklahoma City 8:00 PM
Phoenix
Washington 5 FINAL
NY Rangers 2
Calgary 4 3rd Prd 13:23
Nashville 1
Boston 1 3rd Prd 15:08
Carolina 1
Detroit 4 3rd Prd 16:07
NY Islanders 5
Florida 2 3rd Prd 16:43
Ottawa 0
Anaheim 0 1st Prd 20:00
New Jersey 0
Chicago 6:30 PM
Winnipeg
San Jose 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Michigan State 76 FINAL
Louisville 70
Gonzaga 52 FINAL
Duke 66
Philadelphia 0 FINAL
Chicago 1
Toronto FC 6:00 PM
Real Salt Lake
(7) Florida State 74 FINAL
(3) South Carolina 80
Villanova 70 FINAL
West Virginia 75
Michigan 69 FINAL
Southern Miss 60
Temple 69 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 57
Siena 50 FINAL
Louisiana 52
St Marys-CA 66 FINAL
UCLA 82
(5) Baylor 7:30 PM
(2) Notre Dame
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: What should the Vikings do with Adrian Peterson?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close