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 mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


What if Vikings' search for a new defensive coordinator fails?

Posted by: under Vikings, Bears, Leslie Frazier, Leslie Frazier Updated: January 11, 2012 - 9:26 AM

Go ahead. Try to figure this one out. Who exactly will the Vikings’ defensive coordinator be in 2012?

At present, it’s a confounding riddle that requires a jug of Advil to sort through. A multitude of reports continue to swirl as the coaching landscape changes across the NFL. Yet few clear answers are emerging on what direction the Vikings are leaning.

At present, five names are currently being associated with the defensive coordinator position. Let’s take them one by one …
 
Raheem Morris: Fired by Tampa Bay last week, Morris was apparently the first candidate that Leslie Frazier brought to Winter Park for an interview. But how great are his chances of moving to the Twin Cities? Morris told the Tampa Tribune that he fully expects to be coaching somewhere next season and has already received an offer from the Redskins to become their defensive backs coach. But ...
 
"I also felt great coming out of my talks with Minnesota,'' Morris said. "We should know something pretty soon because you can see jobs shaking out all over the league right now. I'll be back somewhere next season. I'm not going to just stay at home – I don't have that in me. I'm a football coach and we do what we do."

 

Sounds potentially promising for a Morris-Frazier union, right? Except that ESPN’s Chris Mortensen was direct in a Tweet late Tuesday night, saying “I do not expect the Vikings to hire Morris.” Take that for what it’s worth.
 
Steve Spagnuolo: After losing his job as the Rams head coach last week, Spagnuolo’s name has been linked to a handful of defensive coordinator openings around the league with the Vikings as one of the teams showing interest. Frazier and Spagnuolo, it should be noted, coached together in Philadelphia for four seasons (1999-2002) and developed a lasting friendship. But the Vikings will face stiff competition if they have high hopes of luring Spagnuolo this way. The Philadelphia Inquirer has said Spagnuolo’s return to the Eagles could be finalized by week’s end. There are also rumblings that Atlanta coach Mike Smith would love to bring Spagnuolo to the Falcons to replace Brian VanGorder, who just left to head to Auburn.
 
Mel Tucker: The Jaguars’ defensive coordinator finished last season as the interim head coach in Jacksonville and, as Jason La Canfora of NFL.com previously reported, has been lined up to interview with the Vikings. But Tucker, too, will have options to weigh. On Tuesday night, Jacksonville hired Mike Mularkey as their new head coach. And Mularkey has apparently expressed interest in keeping Tucker in place as the Jaguars’ defensive coordinator.
 
Mike Singletary: Currently the Vikings’ linebackers coach and special assistant to the head coach, Singletary will be considered as a candidate to become defensive coordinator despite a coaching resume that has obvious holes. Singletary has never been a defensive coordinator before. And his lone stint as a head coach resulted in an 18-22 record in San Francisco, culminating with a late-season firing in 2010. Singletary and Frazier, however, are close friends, their bond having begun 30 years ago when they were both starting out as players with the Bears.
 
Fred Pagac: Yes, amazingly, Pagac still has not been officially dismissed from his role as the Vikings’ defensive coordinator, though it would be a major shock if that development didn’t come soon. The most outlandish conspiracy theory out there wonders if Pagac hasn’t been fired as defensive coordinator yet just in case the Vikings whiff with the other candidates they’re interested in. But coming off a miserable 3-13 season, it would be difficult for both Frazier and the organization to survive the embarrassment of the major malfunction that would be required for Pagac to stay in his current role.
 
One other thing to keep in mind: The Vikings have been chosen to coach in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., a week-long event that will begin 11 days from now. You'd have to imagine Frazier would want to have his coaching staff put together and fully settled soon in order to begin preparation for that week.

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT