5 college coaches the Vikings could replace Mike Zimmer with in 2022

(Photo by Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman/USA TODAY Network) Lincoln Riley
(Photo by Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman/USA TODAY Network) Lincoln Riley /
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James Franklin (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images) /

James Franklin (Penn State Head Coach)

James Franklin is going to be a name to monitor in the NFL at some point in the near future. He will probably be the biggest name tabbed to the USC opening over the next few months, but the Vikings would be smart to kick the tires on the Penn State head coach.

Franklin has been incredible with the Nittany Lions despite a down year in 2020. He has put together some strong 11-win seasons after taking over the job back in 2014. He has also led Penn State to several New Year’s Six games with wins in the Cotton Bowl (2019) and Fiesta Bowl (2017).

Penn State plays some ugly football but has pulled out the wins when necessary. James Franklin earned a promotion from Vanderbilt to a Big Ten powerhouse and has done enough to earn the consideration for some of the biggest jobs in the country.

The NFL will be calling sooner or later, so the Vikings may as well get out in front of things. Getting a fresh start on the coaching staff with an experienced winner is the right first step. Can another Penn State head coach make the leap after Bill O’Brien?