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.

Offensively, Peterson will be 29 in April. He’s one of eight core starters returning, including receivers Cordarrelle Patterson and Greg Jennings, tackles Matt Kalil and Phil Loadholt, center John Sullivan, tight end Kyle Rudolph and fullback Jerome Felton. Only Jennings will be over 30.

Spielman sounded intrigued by the offensive scheme former Oregon coach and first-year Eagles coach Chip Kelly brought to the NFL.

“Usually, [philosophies] have trickled down, where the NFL systems kind of went down to college,” Spielman said. “Now, it seems with the type of athletes coming out in the draft that it’s trickling up to the NFL. Like the Philadelphia Eagles, which is a little bit of a spread offense, yet they had the leading rusher in the league [LeSean McCoy]. I’m looking forward to getting educated as well about a lot of different philosophies.”

Helping Peterson

Of course, the success of any offensive system depends on Spielman and his new hire solidifying the unsettled situation at quarterback.

“To me, I’d want either a head coach or an offensive coordinator who believes in spreading the ball around because we do have a lot of weapons on offense,” receiver Jarius Wright said. “I’d almost like to get a defensive-minded coach because you have to play tough defense to have a chance in the NFL. Then get an offensive coordinator who believes in passing the ball as well as running. If we can ever get the passing part going, teams would never be able to stop Adrian.”

From a personality standpoint, many players are concerned because Frazier had such a calm but firm demeanor and was receptive to the needs of his players.

“Yeah, it’s a nervous time,” Robison said. “Change can always be good. But there’s also a saying that goes around, too. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. I guess we’ll find out.”







 

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Kansas City - J. Vargas 7:07 PM
San Francisco - R. Vogelsong
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
New Orleans 10/30/14 7:25 PM
Carolina
Buffalo 3:00 PM
San Jose
Boston 6:00 PM
Toronto
NY Rangers 6:00 PM
Montreal
New Jersey 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Dallas 6:00 PM
NY Islanders
Detroit 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Chicago 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Pittsburgh 7:00 PM
Nashville
Tampa Bay 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Florida 8:00 PM
Arizona
Washington 9:00 PM
Calgary
So Florida 17 FINAL
Cincinnati 34
Troy 13 FINAL
South Alabama 27
BYU 30 FINAL
Boise State 55
(6) Oregon 59 FINAL
California 41
UAB 17 FINAL
Arkansas 45
Rutgers 24 FINAL
(16) Nebraska 42
Maryland 7 FINAL
Wisconsin 52
Texas 0 FINAL
(11) Kansas State 23
Memphis 48 FINAL
SMU 10
North Texas 21 4th Qtr 5:20
Rice 34
Minnesota 24 4th Qtr 0:11
Illinois 28
North Carolina 21 4th Qtr 11:27
Virginia 27
San Jose St 17 3rd Qtr 6:45
Navy 24
Northern Ill 14 4th Qtr
Eastern Mich 10
(25) UCLA 17 2nd Qtr 6:12
Colorado 6
Akron 21 2nd Qtr 2:35
Ball State 6
Massachusetts 20 2nd Qtr 3:03
Toledo 14
Ohio U 7 2nd Qtr 4:45
Western Mich 21
Ga Southern 27 2nd Qtr 6:12
Georgia State 17
Kent State 0 2nd Qtr 15:00
Miami-Ohio 7
Oregon State 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10:59 PM
Hawaii
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Louisville
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulane
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Memphis
Purdue 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
(17) Oklahoma 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa State
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(22) West Virginia
Texas 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Texas Tech
Northwestern 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa
Maryland 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Penn State
Air Force 11/1/14 10:30 AM
Army
ULM 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Texas A&M
Duke 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Wisconsin 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
Rice 11/1/14 11:00 AM
FIU
(18) East Carolina 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Temple
UCF 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Connecticut
Boston College 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
North Carolina 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Miami-Florida
Washington 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Central Mich 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Western Mich 11/1/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Western Ky 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
NC State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Syracuse
Texas State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico St
Virginia 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech
BYU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
Indiana 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(9) Georgia
Georgia State 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Appalachian St
Kentucky 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Kansas 11/1/14 3:00 PM
(12) Baylor
Houston 11/1/14 3:00 PM
So Florida
(20) USC 11/1/14 3:30 PM
Washington St
Arkansas State 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
South Alabama 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Louisiana
New Mexico 11/1/14 4:30 PM
UNLV
UAB 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
(5) Auburn 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss
Arkansas 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(1) Miss State
Old Dominion 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Colorado State 11/1/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St
Stanford 11/1/14 6:30 PM
(6) Oregon
Tennessee 11/1/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina
Southern Miss 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
(7) Notre Dame 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Navy
Illinois 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(13) Ohio State
(15) Arizona 11/1/14 9:30 PM
(25) UCLA
California 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
San Diego St 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Wyoming 11/1/14 9:45 PM
Fresno State
(19) Utah 11/1/14 10:00 PM
(14) Arizona State
Utah State 11/1/14 10:00 PM
Hawaii
Los Angeles 0 1st Half 25:00
Seattle 0
D.C. 3:00 PM
Montreal
Toronto FC 6:30 PM
New England
Portland 7:30 PM
FC Dallas
Colorado 9:00 PM
Vancouver FC
Montreal 23 FINAL
Ottawa 17
Saskatchewan 27 FINAL
Calgary 40
Hamilton 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Montreal
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 Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who wins and loses in football this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close