Reusse: Short term, Vikings job isn't that attractive

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 31, 2013 - 12:35 AM

ESPN broadcaster and former NFL coach Jon Gruden

Photo: Steven Senne, Associated Press

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There were six openings after the early hours of the NFL’s annual bushwhacking of head coaches took place Monday morning. Only one job among those half-dozen could be rated as less attractive than becoming the Vikings’ ninth head coach as they enter a 54th season.

Houston will have the first selection in the 2014 draft, and the new coach will have his choice among quarterbacks. Tampa Bay will pick seventh, one spot ahead of the Vikings, and in better position to draft either a quarterback or a tremendous defender.

Washington already has in place two much better options at quarterback, Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins, than anyone currently employed by the Vikings. Detroit needs only someone who can instill discipline to enter next season as Green Bay’s only challenger in the NFC North.

Houston. Tampa Bay. Washington. Detroit.

If I was Bill O’Brien, currently the hot name in coaching searches, any of those jobs would be preferable to Minnesota. If I was Jon Gruden and wanted to get back into the serious part of football, I would take any of those jobs — even a reunion with the Glazers in Tampa — over the Vikings.

Cleveland? The Browns are picking fourth, allowing them to select the third quarterback in the draft. No matter. I wouldn’t touch the Browns’ opening with a big stick. They just fired a coach after one season.

OK, Zygi and Mark Wilf aren’t a bargain, having fired their third coach in nine years, but I’d go to work for them over Jimmy Haslam, Cleveland’s new nutcase of an owner.

The Wilfs’ track record for impatience isn’t even among the top few reasons for a coaching candidate with options to look beyond Minnesota. Consider:

• The defense is in awful shape. There are four players from the current bunch who can be looked at as certain assets when training camp opens next summer — Xavier Rhodes and Harrison Smith in the secondary, Chad Greenway at linebacker and Brian Robison at end.

The defense is so short of high-quality players that the Vikings are going to have to overpay to keep Everson Griffen as a pass rusher, especially if General Manager Rick Spielman is focused on a switch to a 3-4 arrangement (as many folks suspect).

• The Vikings are headed off to play two seasons in TCF Bank Stadium. The on-campus yard is fine as a college stadium, but it was built on the cheap, is undersized and far short of NFL standards.

You get the impression the Vikings are headed for two lost seasons in the return to the outdoors — that their hope is simply to have everything back together by the time they move inside the Taj Ma Zygi in 2016.

This isn’t a job for an O’Brien or even a Jack Del Rio, candidates with immediate ambitions to be actual threats in the playoffs. This is a job for a guy like Adam Gase, the 35-year-old offensive coordinator in Denver … a young man with a five-year contract who could spend those two years outdoors finding and developing a quarterback.

• One obstacle to that strategy: There is no guarantee that Spielman is ready to admit that he completely blundered in taking Christian Ponder with the 12th choice in the 2011 draft.

The most feasible speculation on this season’s quarterback chaos is that Frazier decided early in the season that Ponder wasn’t going to be the answer.

Frazier was the one pushing to bring in Josh Freeman as a possible option for long-term success at quarterback. The Wilfs sided with Frazier on this, Freeman came in and played one awful game in New York, and then Spielman got his way again:

Ponder returned as the starter for six games, looked as inadequate as ever for most of them, and then left the Dec. 1 game vs. Chicago with a concussion. Matt Cassel came in and led the Vikings to a victory.

Cassel played the final four games of the season, as Frazier tried to save his job with a few victories. He got two to finish at 5-10-1, which wasn’t nearly enough.

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San Diego 7:25 PM
Denver
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
Indiana 6:00 PM
Charlotte
Philadelphia 6:30 PM
Detroit
Dallas 7:00 PM
New Orleans
NY Islanders 6:00 PM
Boston
Pittsburgh 6:30 PM
Detroit
Vancouver 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Chicago 7:00 PM
Nashville
Arizona 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Carolina 8:00 PM
Calgary
Buffalo 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Columbus 9:30 PM
San Jose
Arkansas State 40 FINAL
Louisiana 55
Connecticut 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 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
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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

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