Souhan: Vikings need diamond in the rough

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 31, 2013 - 3:06 PM
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Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman

Photo: McKenna Ewen, Star Tribune file

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Rick Spielman says he’ll consider 13 categories of coaching candidates while replacing Leslie Frazier.

What he didn’t say was that when he orders from an Asian restaurant, he’d choose one from Column A, one from Column B and one from the Italian joint next door. That he changes his parking spot in the Vikings’ lot depending on the month, angle of the sun, time of day and square root of the square footage of his shadow. That his Starbucks orders last longer than some NFL careers.

Spielman is capable of overthinking lunch. He’s also capable of using the 12th pick in an NFL draft to select Christian Ponder. So how can he be trusted to hire a coach?

If he’s true to his word, he may be on the right track.

I don’t agree with the decision to fire Frazier. The Wilfs and Spielman gave Frazier lousy quarterbacks and held him responsible for their play.

Now that Frazier’s gone, I do agree with the simple thought behind Spielman’s seemingly byzantine plan.

Sift through the verbosity, and what Spielman seemed to be trying to say is that he won’t limit his coaching search to a certain résumé type.

If he follows his own guidelines, he has a chance to avoid the biggest mistake NFL franchises make when choosing coaches or quarterbacks: overlooking a brick of gold bullion in the blinkered search for a diamond.

The best coaches in the NFL come from a wide variety of backgrounds and offer a wide variety of personalities. Here’s a list of successful NFL head coaches, and the key line of their résumé before they were hired as head coaches:

• Baltimore’s John Harbaugh — special teams coach.

• San Francisco’s Jim Harbaugh — college head coach.

• Seattle’s Pete Carroll — rah-rah college coach twice fired as an NFL head coach.

• Green Bay’s Mike McCarthy — offensive coordinator for one of the NFL’s worst offensive teams.

• New England’s Bill Belichick — fired as the stubborn, thoroughly unlikeable coach of the Browns.

• Cincinnati’s Marvin Lewis — experienced defensive coordinator.

• Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin — one year as defensive coordinator for a 6-10 Vikings team.

• Philadelphia’s Chip Kelly — college hotshot with an offense predicated to fail in the NFL.

• New Orleans’ Sean Payton — offensive coordinator.

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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 Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
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Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
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