The first two days of the search for the Vikings general manager and coaches went relatively smoothly, with executive vice president of football operations Rob Brzezinski, COO Andrew Miller and co-directors of player staff Ryan Monnens and Jamaal Stephenson snuggling up to team property. to build a list of candidates.
But there were signs that things were starting to improve as early as Wednesday night.
The Vikings have called for talks with Browns vice president of football operations Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, Browns vice president of players’ personnel Glenn Cook, Patriots personnel consultant Eliot Wolf and vice president of footballers. Buccaneers player John Spytek, according to a source with knowledge of the team’s plans. . People with knowledge of the GM and the league’s coaching research pointed to four other candidates – Eagles director of player personnel Brandon Brown, Colts assistant general manager Ed Dodds, vice president of players’ personnel. Seahawks Trent Kirchner and Cowboys vice president of player personnel Will McClay – as names to watch GM’s work.
If the Vikings are looking for someone for the job internally, Brzezinski, Stephenson and Monnens could all have a chance to make their case.
Adofo-Mensah, a Princeton graduate with a master’s degree in economics from Stanford, came to the NFL from Wall Street and succeeded Wolf (Ron Wolf’s son, Hall of Famer and former Packers general manager) in Cleveland.
Cook, who started out as a scout with the Colts and Packers, quickly rose through the ranks of the Browns’ organization, from assistant director of professional recruiting to vice president of player personnel last year. A source who had worked with Cook called him “a hard worker, calm and respectful with a good sense of talent.”
Spytek has been with the Buccaneers for 18 years, serving as general manager Jason Licht’s right-hand man for a team that won the Super Bowl last year. He oversees both the college and professional recruiting departments of Tampa Bay.
Dodds interviewed the Panthers and Lions for their GM role last year, after refusing to speak with the Browns in 2020. Kirchner, who played football in St. John’s with Monnens, interviewed the Texans on it. last year after previously speaking with the Jets, Colts and 49ers.
Brown played it safe with the Colts before graduating in law and joining the Eagles in 2017, the season they won Super Bowl LII at US Bank Stadium.
The fact that the Vikings are hiring a general manager first means they will be a bit behind other teams in interviews with head coach candidates, but sources said on Wednesday that there was so much of interest in the post that the Vikings might carry some weight.
Thanks to the roster’s talent – 27-year-old defensive end Danielle Hunter, 26-year-old running back Dalvin Cook and, perhaps most notably, 22-year-old wide receiver Justin Jefferson – as well as a As a group of patient owners and state-of-the-art facilities, the Viking coach position might be considered the most desirable of the seven possible positions.
The team cap situation will require Brzezinski’s attention ahead of the start of the new league year in March; the Vikings must then free up about $ 7 million in space. But the ability to build a solid foundation with the squad’s current talent is attracting interest from many training candidates, which could mean the Vikings can afford to wait for options like the former Eagles coach. Doug Pederson, who interviewed the Bears on Wednesday.
While the Vikings do their research, some coaches on their current roster are exploring options in case they aren’t back in Minnesota. Offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak was interviewed for the Panthers offensive coordinator position on Wednesday, a source said, and several other coaches are said to be discussing possible openings with other teams.
If the Vikings interview an internal candidate for the head coach job, defensive coordinator Andre Patterson might be the best bet to secure time with ownership and a new GM. Patterson is closely related to former coach Mike Zimmer, but his leadership, ability to connect with players and work as the head of the Vikings’ Social Justice Committee has earned him deep respect in the locker room and organization. .
He first worked in Minnesota for Dennis Green, who once told Patterson that he viewed him as a potential head coach because of his ability to motivate players. However, he never interviewed for an NFL head coach position during his 18 years in the league; his first chance might come if the Vikings decided to sit down with him and hear how he would approach the job.