The Free Press, Mankato, MN


January 3, 2014

In lieu of Les, Vikings have some familiar options

Leslie Frazier should still be the coach of the Minnesota Vikings next season ... but he isn’t.

Frazier was caught in the rollercoaster, decision-making process involving the starting quarterback, which probably cost the team at least a couple victories. And the defense got old about a year sooner than anyone could have predicted.

The Vikings’ hierarchy seems more of a mess than the coaching staff, but teams are far more likely to make change on the field than in the front office.

While maintaining that Frazier is a better coach than whomever is chosen as his replacement, here’s a look at a few of the early candidates that might be able to hasten a major rebuilding project.

Jack Del Rio, the former Vikings linebacker, might be one of those coaches who got hired young and will work out better in his next head-coaching stint. He lasted nine seasons as the head coach with Jacksonville, with a 68-71 record and three playoff games.

He’s a defensive-minded coach, and that unit needed some life after surrendering so many late leads. But his previous experience will likely show him that hiring competent coordinators is a key to NFL success, and being involved on one side of the ball too much rarely works out. He has valuable experience, yet he’s really not a tired, recycled coach, either.

Darrell Bevell also has ties to the organization, having served as offensive coordinator from 2006-09. He wasn’t given much credit for offensive creativity while on staff here, but he coached with Brad Childress, who tended to be somewhat controlling.

This season at Seattle, the Seahawks were 11th in total offense, with a strong emphasis on rushing. That should mesh with the use of Adrian Peterson, but Bevell has never shown the large personality it takes to be an NFL head coach. Maybe it’s in there, somewhere.

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