Former Mike Zimmer assistant could be in mix for Vikings head coach job

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) Jonathan Gannon
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) Jonathan Gannon /

Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon interviewed well with the Minnesota Vikings recently and he could end up replacing Mike Zimmer.

Prior to the 2021 season, former Minnesota Vikings assistant defensive backs coach Jonathan Gannon was given the opportunity to be the defensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles.

With Gannon in control of the Eagles’ defense, it wasn’t too surprising when former Vikings safety Anthony Harris wound up signing a deal with Philadelphia last year. Harris worked with Gannon in Minnesota and he knew he would be in good hands.

After signing with the Eagles, Harris answered a question about what his expectations were for the team’s defense in 2021 with Gannon leading the way.

"“I expect his defense to be fundamentally sound. Just knowing him, he’s a person who really likes and loves the game, he communicates well with the players, asks how you see things out there on the field. So that’s one piece, and then, just effort. He’s really big on effort, controlling what you can control, and just flying around playing football and just loving it.”"

Could Jonathan Gannon leave the Philadelphia Eagles to be the next Minnesota Vikings head coach?

As of Monday, there have been no reports of the Vikings making any second-interview requests for any of the eight head-coaching candidates they’ve interviewed so far.

Gannon is one of the eight coaches that have been interviewed by Minnesota for Mike Zimmer’s old job, and according to Pro Football Network’s Aaron Wilson, the Philadelphia defensive coordinator knocked his meeting with the Vikings “out of the park.”

With Gannon in control of the defense, the Eagles ended the 2021 season ranked 10th in yards allowed, 18th in points allowed, 11th in passing yards allowed, and ninth in rushing yards allowed. Each of these rankings were worse for Philadelphia in 2020 when Gannon wasn’t running the defense.

After how everything ended with Zimmer, one should be expecting Minnesota to place a heavy emphasis on communication with the entire locker room when it comes to their next head coach. This seems to be a skill that the 39-year-old Gannon possesses.

When he was on the Vikings coaching staff from 2014 to 2017, he played a key role in getting the most out of some of the team’s top defensive backs including Harris, Xavier Rhodes, Harrison Smith, and Trae Waynes.

Smith ended up earning a First-Team All-Pro selection when Gannon was on Minnesota’s staff, and according to Wilson, the Minnesota safety has “told several teammates that he learned more from Gannon than any other coach he has played for.”

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Could the current Eagles defensive coordinator end up as the next head coach of the Vikings? Time will tell, but if Minnesota requests to meet with him a second time in the near future, he will certainly be in contention for the vacancy.