Dec. 30, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith on the sidelines in the first half against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings Head Coach Rumor Mill: Lovie Smith. Ken Whisenhunt. Leslie Frazier?


With Leslie Frazier likely on his way out the door, Vikings fandom is busy putting together its wish list of potential new head coaches. That list has lots of names on it, some realistic, some not so much.

Fans seem especially enamored of retread coaches, particularly the guys with big names: your Jon Grudens, your Bill Cowhers, your Brian Billicks. Heck, you can even throw Rex Ryan on there. For some reason, there are people who want to hire that guy as head coach.

I’ve even seen Rob Ryan thrown out there, though for the life of me I can’t see the appeal.

You want a head start on paring down your wish list? Throw off every name I just mentioned. Cause none of those guys are coming to Minnesota.

Throw off Mike Tomlin too. I know Viking fans love Tomlin forever and ever, but he’s not getting fired by Pittsburgh. And after the way he managed the end of that Steelers-Packers game, frankly I’m not sure that I would want him even if he did get fired.

Sorry fans, but speculating about those big-name wish list guys is totally unrealistic and a bit silly. You want realistic speculation? You’re going to have to dial back your expectations.

You’re Viking fans, you should be good at dialing back expectations by now.

How far do we want to go in dialing that back? How does the name Lovie Smith strike you?

That’s a name that’s now being thrown out there. Don Banks mentions both Smith and former Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt in his Black Monday primer article on SI.com.

Banks’ reasoning on this is pretty solid I think…and it’s something a lot of Viking fans aren’t going to want to hear. To put it bluntly: Minnesota just isn’t a very desirable landing spot right now due to the stadium situation. The two years the Vikes will have to spend outdoors at tiny, amenity-challenged TCF Bank will be a significant factor for any coach looking at the Vikings.

According to Banks, you can already rule out the hottest college coach out there, Bill O’Brien. Any other big-time college coaches who might throw their hat into the ring…basically rule them out too.

Take out the hot names and what are the Vikings left with? The second-tier retread market. Lovie Smith and Ken Whisenhunt. Guys who already flamed out one place and would just be happy to score any job. They’re not likely to be as picky. They won’t mind spending two years in relative gulag.

Why not throw Norv Turner on there while we’re at it? Charlie Weis? Romeo Crennel?

But wait, it gets worse. The other scenario Banks considers, I personally would call this prospect unspeakable. But right now it looks like a distinct possibility. It could be that the Vikings look at this whole limbo situation and decide, you know what, screw it. Let’s just keep Leslie Frazier.

It actually makes sense when you think about it. The team is essentially going to be a lame duck for two years, stuck in Siberia Bank Stadium. Who better to lead them than a lame duck coach? Emphasis on “lame.”

You would think a man with any pride would turn down such a job, the job of fill-in coach for a franchise that is essentially punting away the next two seasons. But it’s not like Leslie Frazier will have a lot of better options out there. Maybe he could score a head job in the MAC. Defensive coordinator at some mid-tier SEC school, maybe. DBs coach in the NFL, if he’s lucky.

So, you might as well start preparing yourself for the possibility of Leslie Frazier sticking around. And even if Frazier goes, you can forget about anyone with a hot name coming in. You can forget about some former Super Bowl winner taking over the seat. Odds are, the next Vikings coach will be some guy who can’t get a sniff anywhere else. It will be some guy on his last chance.

Lovie Smith? Oh yay.

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  • Jake

    Both you and Banks are fucking stupid. Why would put a halt to all your rebuilding efforts simply because you’re going to play outdoors for two seasons? That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard and considering the myriad dumbass comments you make, that means this is pretty stupid. The stadium situation is not going to be a factor for any potential coach. Do you actually think that a hotshot college coach or coordinator is going to pass up the opportunity to be a head coach in the NFL simply because they play outdoors for two years? Are you that dumb? It’s every coaches dream to one day coach in the Bigs and no one in their right mind is going to allow something as asinine as two years in the snow deter them from achieving the goal. You really have no idea what you’re talking about. All you’re doing is regurgitating Don Banks’ garbage.

  • craigmont strong

    Mike Martz would be a great choice for the VIKINGS head coach next season: he already has head coaching experience and unlike being offensive coordinator for Chicago, he won’t have other coaches
    derailing his offense.

    • Daniel Laxen

      Really? The Vikings have AP and are not going to hire Martz a pass happy idiot that would challenge some retarded calls risking time outs for 2 yards on 3rd and 17 with a chance to get 2 yards, so he can punt…Please before you open your yap make sure you have something intelligent to say!

      • craigmont strong

        If ignorance was bliss you would be the happest person on earth. Mike can incorporate the running game in his offense: at the rate that Minnesota is using AP, his career definitely be shortened. So do us all a favor and keep your immature yap shut!

        • Daniel Laxen

          Truth must be a problem for you, huh? Mike Martz, look at the job he did for the Lions. You must be a Lion fan?…SMFH…Mike Martz, geeeze!

          • craigmont strong

            Vikings fan always!!! I just don’t live in your delusional world! I bet you was jumping for joy when Ponder was drafted! Mike is a great offensive minded coach and with the right defensive coach Minnesota has s chance to be back on top next year!

          • Daniel Laxen

            Delusional? I’m delusional and you say Mike Martz is a good fit in Minnesota. Take a look at Mike Martz. He inherited the “Greatest Show on Turf” and loses as a 14 point favorite in the Super Bowl!. He argued with the front office when he was on leave of absence trying to call plays over the phone. He resigned before he was fired. He was 3-4 in the playoffs…

            In Detroit he was the OC and led them to a 3-13 record his 1st year. The Lions were 7-9 his 2nd. When he was fired that team went 0-16.Why was he fired you ask? The players HATED him!…

            On to the 49ers. Martz offense got Mike Nolan fired and he was fired soon after. Then he gets the call to go to the Bears. His 1st season there they rank 28th in passing and 22 in rushing with no injury issues.

            His pass happy offense got Jay Cutler sacked more than any QB in the league. His last year there the Bears started 7-3 and then Jay Culter and Matt Forte got injured. Jay, because of 7 step drops and no O-line. Lovie Smith fired his ass, and all the players HATED him. Judging by some of Jay Cutler’s remarks I’d say it stretched beyond mere HATE…

            I’m delusional because the Vikings are built to be a run 1st team that wins with ball control and defense. That didn’t happen this season, and Leslie Frazier will pay with his job! Mike Martz has likely seen his last days as a coach in the NFL…As for delusional, maybe it’s you that’s delusional? What you suggest goes beyond delusional into realm of asinine, but thanks for you spouting some marginal name as a Head Coaching prospect for the Vikings!…SMFH

        • Daniel Laxen

          Oh yeah, he really got the Rams to play great too. The year after they broke all the records on offense. Martz as a head coach leaves plenty to be desired, you dunder head…C’mon Man!

    • Chalie00

      They won’t get Martz, first he’s retired and has said he’s not coming back. Secondly, they would need to get rid of the TE’s and cut down on AP. Those two things will never happen.

  • Devi37

    Your article is very depressing – however, I am not denying it may be realistic. But still I have a hard time believing the Wilfs are going to give up on the next few seasons when it is imperative to develop these young guys we got in the draft the last couple of years to build a championship team to play in
    the new stadium. Add to that, the development of a new and hopefully franchise QB. I may have to consider not spending over $200 to get NFL Sunday ticket which is the only way we can see the VIkings games (fans since 1961!) I don’t think the fans will accept Coach Frazier another year. I know I can’t.

  • Gordon Guffey

    I can only hope they get it right this time ~ I believe Spielman will ~ I say no to past NFL coaches that have been out of football for a while ~ No matter what it should be a great offseason ~
    First there is the hiring of a new staff or at worse a new OC and DC ~ I do believe it will be a whole new staff ~ But what do I know ~
    Then comes the West vs West all start game followed by the Senior Bowl ~ My hope is with the Vikings record and the fact that they have a new coaching staff they will get to coach in them once again ~
    Then there is the subject of signing FA ~ Some will come and some will go ~
    Next we will have the combines and all of the pro days leading up to the draft ~
    Finally the Vikings will get couple of extra mini camps ~
    I’m sure I missed something along the way ~ But its going to be better than having to hear Frazier say he need to look at the video or there were some things we could have done better ~

  • Sean Moore

    Zinski….I wish they would fire you. I hate your articles….sorry my man but you’re out there in la la land with most of your opinions.

  • Mark Durkop

    I think you are WAY too cynical to be writing about ANY team… 100% speculative without a shred of authority. Just a waste of time.