Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.

Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.

Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.

Eight categories: A look back at former Vikings head coaches

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated: December 31, 2013 - 9:00 AM

Vikings general manager Rick Spielman has sliced potential candidates into 13 categories. While it won’t have any impact on the search, what categories would the previous eight coaches fit under? And what one surprising category remains empty?

Former player with no coaching experience…

Norm Van Brocklin – The Hall of Fame quarterback was named as the franchise’s first NFL head coach. He pulled a modern-day Jason Kidd and received a head coaching position right after he retired following the 1960 season with an NFL title and MVP honors.

You can cross off this box with a red Sharpie…unless this search is really thorough.

Canadian Football League coach with no NFL experience…

Bud Grant – This worked out well the only time the Vikings crossed the border looking for a head coach. Before Grant was named head coach in 1967, he led the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to four Grey Cup championships. The Hall of Fame coach retired, came back then retired again in 281 games with the Vikings with four Super Bowl appearances, 11 Central Division titles and 12 playoff appearances.

Hey, the Bears went this route last year with Marc Trestman. Just saying.

Offensive assistant on staff with no NFL head coaching experience…

Les Steckel – And you think Leslie Frazier had a short lease? Steckel was fired after one year in what some consider as the worst season in franchise history in 1984 (3-13). The wide receivers coach was Grant’s successor after he retired and was the youngest head coach in the NFL at the time (38).

Offensive coordinator on staff with no NFL head coaching experience…

Jerry Burns – Grant’s offensive coordinator finally got his chance after he retired for the second time. Named as the head coach in 1986, he went 55-46 overall in six seasons as the head coach. Burns led the team to six playoff games (3-3), including the 1987 NFC Championship game.

College coach with no NFL coaching experience…

Dennis Green – He spent three seasons as Stanford’s head coach before becoming the first coach in franchise history to be hired from the college ranks. Green was named coach of the year in his first of 10 seasons (1992) with the Vikings. They earned four Central Division titles and two berths to the NFC Championship game under Green.

Offensive line/assistant head coach on staff that previously played for the franchise with no NFL head coaching experience…

Mike Tice – This is quite the category and one that will probably never see another candidate. Tice became the first Vikings head coach that previously played for the franchise when his tenure began in 2002. He spent four seasons after coaching the final game in 2001 with a 32-33 record. He made one trip to the playoffs.

Offensive coordinator from another team with no NFL head coaching experience…

Brad Childress – Out of all the categories listed, the next head coach could possibly fit here. Childress previously served as the Eagles’ offensive coordinator before being named as head coach in 2006. He led the Vikings to consecutive NFC North titles in 2008-09 and lost 31-28 to the Saints in the 2009 NFC Championship game. He was fired after Week 11 in 2010.

Defensive coordinator on staff named interim head coach with no previous NFL head coaching experience…

Leslie Frazier – And we can cross off this category as well. Frazier was fired on Monday after taking over as interim head coach in 2010 for Childress. He finished 21-32-1 during his tenure with one winning record and playoff appearance last year (10-6).

So we have probably five legitimate categories Spielman probably has in his complicated concept of hiring the next head coach looking at the past. What’s noticeably missing?

Former NFL head coach…

He said the research suggested there wasn’t a category more successful than the other, but the Vikings have never hired someone with previous NFL head coaching experience. Spielman mentioned some of his categories during Monday’s press conference and included former NFL head coaching experience a few times.

With a soft deadline of the Senior Bowl (Jan. 25) all these categories could make for a dragged out coaching search.


Team Irvin 32 FINAL
Team Carter 28
Miami 96 FINAL
Chicago 84
Oklahoma City 98 FINAL
Cleveland 108
Dallas 106 FINAL
New Orleans 109
Indiana 106 FINAL
Orlando 99
LA Clippers 120 FINAL
Phoenix 100
Minnesota 100 FINAL
Atlanta 112
Detroit 110 FINAL
Toronto 114
Milwaukee 95 FINAL
San Antonio 101
Boston 111 FINAL
Golden State 114
Washington 117 FINAL
Denver 115
Houston 99 FINAL
LA Lakers 87
Team Toews 17 FINAL
Team Foligno 12
South Florida 53 FINAL
Connecticut 66
Boston College 64 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Virginia 50 FINAL
Virginia Tech 47
Indiana 70 FINAL
Ohio State 82
Stony Brook 61 FINAL
Binghamton 54
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
UCF 46
Maine 70 FINAL
Hartford 61
Monmouth 64 FINAL
Manhattan 71
Fairfield 67 FINAL
Marist 73
Rowan 48 FINAL
Princeton 96
St Bonaventure 48 FINAL
Rhode Island 53
Duke 77 FINAL
St Johns 68
Saint Peters 69 FINAL
Siena 55
Drake 40 FINAL
Wichita State 74
Vermont 61 FINAL
UMass Lowell 50
Seton Hall 57 FINAL
Butler 77
South Alabama 55
Northern Iowa 54 FINAL
Illinois State 53
Louisville 80 FINAL
Pittsburgh 68
Albany 69
Niagara 64 FINAL
Iona 87
Notre Dame 81 FINAL
NC State 78
Belmont 63 FINAL
Tennessee St 55
Creighton 50 FINAL
Villanova 71
Northwestern 67 FINAL
Maryland 68
Washington 56 FINAL
Utah 77
Senior-North 34 FINAL
Senior-South 13
Seton Hall 99 FINAL
Georgetown 85
St Johns 69 FINAL
Villanova 81
Arkansas 58 FINAL
Florida 72
Maine 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 55 FINAL
Alabama 52
Lafayette 60 FINAL
Lehigh 65
SMU 57
Utah 51 FINAL
Washington 63
James Madison 73 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 53
Delaware 56 FINAL
Drexel 61
Hofstra 56 FINAL
William & Mary 57
Hartford 58 FINAL
Albany 82
Binghamton 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 67
Towson 63 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 71
Wake Forest 80 FINAL
(17) Florida State 110
Georgia Tech 68 FINAL
Virginia 62
(22) Georgia 51 FINAL
(5) Tennessee 59
Drake 79 FINAL
Evansville 62
Iona 80 FINAL
Canisius 62
Fairfield 33 FINAL
Monmouth 59
Northwestern 75 FINAL
Penn State 76
Wisconsin 71 FINAL
Michigan State 77
Ohio State 79 FINAL
Purdue 71
Northern Iowa 57 FINAL
Indiana State 55
Butler 58 FINAL
Xavier 54
Creighton 93 FINAL
Marquette 75
Providence 42 FINAL
DePaul 90
Northeastern 77 FINAL
Elon 80
(2) Connecticut 96 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Oregon 78 FINAL
Arizona 81
Bradley 46 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 45
NC State 49 FINAL
(23) Syracuse 66
(7) Maryland 84 FINAL
Indiana 74
Illinois State 35 FINAL
Missouri State 58
Colorado 68 FINAL
Washington St 73
Tulane 45 FINAL
South Florida 64
(14) Kentucky 83 FINAL
Missouri 69
(9) Oregon State 68 FINAL
(13) Arizona State 57
Vermont 63 FINAL
UMass Lowell 72
Iowa State 58 FINAL
(8) Texas 57
Southern Ill 61 FINAL
Wichita State 80
(15) Duke 74 FINAL
(12) North Carolina 67
Miami-Florida 55 FINAL
(4) Louisville 68
(21) Minnesota 61 FINAL
(25) Rutgers 66
California 72 FINAL
(11) Stanford 71 FINAL
USC 60
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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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