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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New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Portland 0 Postponed
Brooklyn 0
Sacramento 0 Postponed
New York 0
Philadelphia 74 FINAL
New Orleans 99
Minnesota 84 FINAL
Oklahoma City 92
Orlando 94 FINAL
Memphis 103
Boston 99 FINAL
Utah 90
Denver 98 FINAL
LA Clippers 102
Army 68 FINAL
American Univ 66
Wright State 64 FINAL
Detroit 53
Syracuse 83 FINAL
North Carolina 93
Cleveland State 56 FINAL
Oakland 59
Delaware State 54 FINAL
NC Central 55
High Point 63 FINAL
Presbyterian 54
Howard 45 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 42
Coppin State 84 FINAL
NC A&T 71
Nicholls 51 FINAL
Northwestern St 80
Hampton 56 FINAL
SC State 65
Gardner-Webb 59 FINAL
Campbell 78
MD-Eastern Shore 72 FINAL
Florida A&M 65
Stephen F Austin 82 FINAL
Lamar 65
Central Arkansas 67 FINAL
New Orleans 87
Norfolk State 70 FINAL
Savannah State 54
TX A&M-CC 70 FINAL
SE Louisiana 61
Sam Houston St 80 FINAL
Abilene Christian 63
McNeese State 84 FINAL
Incarnate Word 86
Milwaukee 48 FINAL
Valparaiso 73
Alcorn State 66 FINAL
Alabama A&M 78
Southern U 59 FINAL
Alabama State 63
Prairie View 68 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 105
Texas 86 FINAL
Iowa State 89
Texas Southern 85 FINAL
Miss Valley St 84
Long Island 85 FINAL
Bryant 88
Central Conn St 51 FINAL
St Francis-NY 49
Fairleigh Dickinson 0 Postponed
Sacred Heart 0
St Francis-PA 87 FINAL
Wagner 74
Delaware State 59 FINAL
NC Central 66
Howard 53 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 61
Coppin State 49 FINAL
NC A&T 67
Hampton 88 FINAL
SC State 53
Norfolk State 54 FINAL
Savannah State 56
MD-Eastern Shore 54 FINAL
Florida A&M 64
Angelo State 55 FINAL
Abilene Christian 70
Samford 32 FINAL
(25) Chattanooga 49
Prairie View 83 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 66
Alcorn State 58 FINAL
Alabama A&M 55
Southern U 53 FINAL
Alabama State 49
Texas Southern 63 FINAL
Miss Valley St 52
(12) Texas A&M 61 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 79
Robert Morris 68 FINAL
Mount St Marys 44
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Mercer 70
Wofford 56 FINAL
Furman 58
Morehead St 64 FINAL
Tenn Tech 54
Illinois 57 FINAL
Michigan 70
Quinnipiac 0 Postponed
Manhattan 0
Saint Peters 0 Postponed
Rider 0
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Auburn 48
(15) Nebraska 72 FINAL
(20) Iowa 78
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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 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

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