Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris reportedly didn't have requests from any of the NFL's eight active head-coaching searches until Tuesday, the day after his defense held the Cardinals offense scoreless through nearly 41 minutes of the Rams' 34-11 win in the NFC wild-card playoff round on Monday night.
By the next afternoon, Morris, the 45-year-old former Buccaneers and Falcons head coach, was the eighth known candidate the Vikings had requested to interview for its head coaching job, according to a league source.
Morris is free to talk immediately because the Rams played their initial playoff game. But follow-up discussions can't be scheduled until a candidate's team is either in the bye week before the Super Bowl or out of the playoffs. The Rams play at Tampa Bay in the divisional round Sunday afternoon.
Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett interviewed with the Vikings over videoconference on Sunday. The Vikings also plan to speak with Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans, Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon and Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell.
Morris is in his first year as Rams defensive coordinator, overseeing an improving group that has allowed just 17.1 points per game in December and January.
"Rah the best coach I've ever had & I've had some GREAT ones," Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey posted on his verified Twitter account. "He's taught me so much more this year alone that's helped improve my game. If no other team wants to give him the head coaching position he DESERVES, I will personally GLADLY have him back as our DC."
When the Falcons fired Quinn in 2020 after an 0-5 start, Morris was promoted from defensive coordinator to interim head coach. In Morris' first game, the Falcons beat the Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium 40-23. He went 4-7 as the interim head coach before Atlanta hired Arthur Smith. Morris had one winning campaign in three seasons with the Buccaneers, going 17-31 from 2009-2011.
Morris is the fifth Vikings coaching candidate with a defensive background, like the team's previous two head coaches Mike Zimmer and Leslie Frazier. Members of the internal search team — which includes Executive Vice President of Football Operations Rob Brzezinski and co-Directors of Player Personnel Jamaal Stephenson and Ryan Monnens — have ties to two of the defensive-minded coaching candidates: Bowles, who previously interviewed for the Vikings' opening in 2014, and Gannon, who was the Vikings assistant defensive backs coach from 2014-2017.
Vikings co-owner Mark Wilf has said that the team plans to hire a general manager before a coach, and the search committee on Tuesday interviewed two more GM candidates: Ryan Poles, Chiefs executive director of player personnel, and Brandon Brown, who just finished his first year as Eagles player personnel director.
Poles, 36, is a well-regarded talent evaluator who has spent 13 seasons with the Chiefs since joining as a scouting assistant in 2009. He's reportedly expected to get a second interview for the Giants' opening, and is scheduled to speak with the Bears. Poles was promoted in 2018 after spending two years as director of college scouting, in which Kansas City drafted quarterback Patrick Mahomes, running back Kareem Hunt and defensive tackle Chris Jones.
Poles also previously interviewed in 2021 for the Panthers' opening that went to Scott Fitterer.
Brown's experience is mostly in pro scouting, leading that department for the Eagles since 2019. He has reportedly been credited with helping scout 2018 seventh-round pick Jordan Mailata, the Australian-born Eagles left tackle.
In a July interview with the Eagles team website, Brown said his duties as a pro scout focused on "understanding the league, preseason scouting, setting the table for advance scouting reports," he said. "There's so much tape and film out there week-to-week on our opponent, what they've done, back-end players … it's our job to know it accurately and this is what they do well, this is what they don't do well."
In their GM search, the Vikings had previously interviewed the Eagles' Catherine Raiche, the Browns' Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, the Buccaneers' John Spytek and the Titans' Monti Ossenfort.
The team had also requested to speak with Eliot Wolf, Patriots personnel consultant, and Glenn Cook, Browns VP of player personnel.
Star Tribune writer Ben Goessling contributed to this report.