6 under-the-radar candidates to be the next Vikings head coach

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) DeMeco Ryans
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) DeMeco Ryans /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images) DeMeco Ryans /

DeMeco Ryans

Current Role:

  • San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator

As good of a head-coaching candidate as Mike McDaniel might be, DeMeco Ryans might be the better candidate for a head-coaching job when it comes to the 49ers’ top two assistants.

Ryans took over as San Francisco’s defensive coordinator prior to the start of the 2021 season after Robert Saleh left to go become the head coach of the New York Jets. If the 49ers had any worries about their defense regressing with Saleh no longer leading the unit, Ryans quickly put those to bed.

During the 2021 regular season, San Francisco ranked ninth in the NFL in points allowed, sixth in passing yards allowed, seventh in rushing yards allowed, sixth in first downs allowed, and fourth in yards allowed per offensive drive. Plus, only three teams in the league finished the 2021 campaign with more expected points contributed by their rushing defense than the 49ers.

If Ryans’ name sounds familiar, it’s because he used to actually suit up and play in the NFL not too long ago. The 2006 Defensive Rookie of the Year spent 10 seasons in the league as a linebacker for the Houston Texans and Philadelphia Eagles.

Ryans has only been on San Francisco’s coaching staff since 2017, but he’s quickly shown that he can coach just as well as he could play.

We know that he’s been on the Vikings’ radar since he’s among the coaches that the team has reportedly put in a request to meet with for their head-coaching vacancy.

With the way things ended for Mike Zimmer, Minnesota is expected to be on the lookout for a head coach who can better relate to the players in the locker room. Since Ryans was a former player not very long ago, relating to the guys in the Vikings locker room would probably be one of his strengths.