The selling points are in place for the Wilf family to swing for the fences.
The Vikings roster has talent, especially with skill position players on offense. There's still a new-car smell at U.S. Bank Stadium and there's a state-of-the-art training facility in Eagan to tout. And the Wilfs are willing to do what it takes to win, with the clearest evidence being Kirk Cousins' massive, guaranteed, multiyear contract. That's the type of "chase for an ace" signing Twins fans have long clamored for.
Simply put, Minnesota should be the most attractive destination for general manager and head coach hopefuls. The Wilfs should have no problem meeting their high standards for these hires.
There are two ways this prime position could be ruined: a slow start to the most important search, the general manager; and botching that GM hire. And a couple of days into this, there are concerns.
Where's the early progress? Division rival Chicago, another team in a double-search situation, already is racing ahead. Are the Vikings?
They will hire a GM to replace Rick Spielman before they hire a coach to replace Mike Zimmer, and these things have a natural order and take time. Even a slightly slow start would be costly, both in the GM search and the coaching hiring process that follows. There are risks involved with being the last one at the dinner table.
And they must hit a home run with their GM hire, a move that will set the tone for the entire football operations wing of the enterprise. Who are they leaning on for guidance as they begin this search? Who's assembling the shortlist of GM candidates? Who's doing the interviewing?
There will be some in-house executives who will assist in the search. Rob Brzezinski, executive vice president in charge of football operations; Jamaal Stephenson, co-director of player personnel; and chief operating officer Andrew Miller have been mentioned as possibilities to be part of the process, with Brzezinski and Stephenson potentially landing interviews.
What about finding outside candidates? Mark Wilf laid out Monday the Vikings' approach to their search this way: "We're going to utilize our relationships and network of resources to make the best possible choice," he said.
I'd love to know what that entails.
The Bears have hired former executive Bill Polian as an adviser during their search. Polian is 79 but is a six-time executive of the year and a Hall of Famer. Chicago also reached out to Super Bowl-winning coach Tony Dungy.
A day later it was reported that the Bears have expressed interest in a number of GM candidates, including former Houston GM Rick Smith; former Dolphins GM and current New Orleans assistant Jeff Ireland; Indianapolis assistant GM Ed Dodds; and two up-and-comers with Cleveland: Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, the vice president of football operations, and Glenn Cook, vice president in charge of player personnel.
It's smart to seek outside input to help craft a hiring strategy. I would hope that the Vikings also have picked Dungy's brain. Or that they have reached out to former executives like Carmen Policy. Or even called former team president and current Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren, still well-connected within the NFL.
There have been no indications the Vikings have done this. That doesn't mean they haven't, but it sure looks like Chicago is further ahead in its double-hire search than the Vikings.
The Vikings want to be thorough in this search, and who wouldn't be with so much at stake? But they also need to be quick. They don't want to miss out on some coaching candidates while still talking to potential GMs.
The Wilfs need to prove they can conduct both a speedy and thorough GM search that lands the right fit for that big purple chair. Everything else will fall into place.