The Vikings hadn't yet announced any interviews with general manager candidates as of early Friday night, but here's how that process is expected to go.
Beginning discussions can be held virtually, especially with general manager candidates from current playoff teams. In-person meetings are required by an update to the Rooney Rule in October, which mandates at least one in-person interview with an external minority candidate for GM and head coach searches.
That rule remains in place amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy wrote in an email on Friday. The Vikings must interview at least two external minority candidates for each opening.
"We did let teams know that if they are conducting interviews with employees of clubs in the playoffs, that they could consider conducting the interview virtually," McCarthy said. "We would imagine the second interview would be done in person."
The Vikings' first hire will be general manager, with that person having input on the 10th head coach in franchise history, according to co-owner Mark Wilf. Ownership and an internal search team — executive vice president of football operations Rob Brzezinski, chief operating officer Andrew Miller and co-directors of player personnel Ryan Monnens and Jamaal Stephenson — are considering a diverse pool of candidates.
The Vikings have requested to speak with eight known candidates: Chiefs director of personnel Ryan Poles, Eagles vice president of football operations Catherine Raiche, Titans player personnel director Monti Ossenfort, Browns vice president of football operations Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, Eagles player personnel director Brandon Brown, Browns vice president of player personnel Glenn Cook, Buccaneers vice president of player personnel John Spytek and Patriots personnel consultant Eliot Wolf.
General manager candidates can interview around their team's playoff schedule. The Giants have talked to six candidates virtually, including Poles on Thursday. Kansas City hosts Pittsburgh on Sunday night in the AFC wild-card round. There are no timing restrictions on candidates from non-playoff teams. Teams can't block requests to interview if the job opening offers "authority over all personnel decisions," meaning if it's a true GM job like Minnesota's.
Six of the Vikings' eight candidates are on playoff teams, including Ossenfort, who is available through the weekend because his Titans earned a first-round bye.
Rules are different for playoff coaches. They can't interview at the onset of the playoffs unless their team earned a first-round bye like Packers coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, who was scheduled to discuss head-coaching jobs with the Broncos and Jaguars in Green Bay this week, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Because the Chiefs play this weekend, offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy can't interview with other teams about head-coaching openings until after that initial playoff game. The same goes for Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore and Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll.
In-person interviews during the NFL divisional playoff round are typically held in the candidate's city. Follow-up interviews can only be done when a candidate's team is either in the bye week before the Super Bowl or out of the playoffs.
There are no timing restrictions on interviewing NFL assistants from teams out of the playoffs, or college coaches.