The Sales Pitch For The Next Vikings Head Coach
One thing that has gotten a little bit lost in the shuffle has been that the Vikings actually have to compete for a new head coach (as I recently discussed). The team can’t just pluck their go-to option from the list of top candidates. Rather, they need to participate in a hiring process that involves both sides evaluating each other.
There are currently six teams who will be looking for new head coaches: Denver, Las Vegas, Jacksonville, Chicago, Miami, and Minnesota. It’s peculiar that Miami is on this list, but that’s neither here nor there. The broader point is that there are a half dozen spots in the running for this batch of new head coaches. Minnesota will therefore need to show that they’re a desirable spot.
What happens if, say, both Denver and Minnesota want to hire Byron Leftwich? Ditto for Jim Harbaugh, Todd Bowles, or any of the other top coaching candidates. The Vikings will be tasked with showing that they’re, in fact, the best spot for an up-and-coming coach. There are at least three persuasive reasons for why the Vikings are a great spot.
Reason #1: Great Ownership
This one isn’t a given, folks. Plenty of teams suffer under incompetent ownership. Unlike GMs or HCs, owners can’t be fired.
For this reason, Vikings fans ought to be thankful for the Wilfs. They allow the football people to make the football decisions. They spend to the cap and have provided top-level facilities. The next head coach will likely value being able to lead his Vikings into one of the league’s preeminent stadiums.
Oh, one more thing: the Vikings’ owners don’t make impulse decisions. Job security is in short supply in the NFL, so this one matters.
Reason #2: Great Influence
Admittedly, we’ll need to wait and see what the chain of command looks like. The new GM may adjust how things operate in Minnesota. Nevertheless, the Vikings have done a reasonably good job of giving their head coach influence.
Mike Zimmer had a ton of say on who was brought in during free agency and the draft. That’s the way it ought to be, folks. If you don’t trust the HC to have a say in the talent that gets brought in, then don’t hire him. It’s just that simple.
In Minnesota, the next head coach will likely get significant influence on who stays and goes. Again, it isn’t like that everywhere.
Reason #3: Great Talent
The roster definitely has a lot of work to do. Even still, there is legit talent here, and a lot of it is young.
The new head coach will be able to step into an offense with Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, Irv Smith Jr., and Dalvin Cook as the main skill players. There’s the upside tackle tandem in Darrisaw and O’Neill. Depending on one’s perspective, Kirk Cousins is either a help or a hindrance (or, more accurately, a combination of both). Either way, the offense has a lot to offer.
The defense does need work. What it can offer, though, is vets like Eric Kendricks, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Harrison Smith. Patrick Peterson, apparently, wants to stick around. Plus, there is some youth here. Danielle Hunter is still young (though the injuries are worrisome). Armon Watts had a nice season, and Cameron Dantzler still has a ton of potential. Camryn Bynum may become a great safety, and D.J. Wonnum finished with 8 sacks.
In other words, the new head coach will inherit a roster with talent and a 12th overall pick. Things change pretty fast in the NFL, so don’t be surprised if a new leader can turn this team around quickly.