Today at Lions Tap in Eden Praire (home of the best burgers), the talk quickly turned to the Vikings. "Who do you like as head coach? You're the columnist."
It's true but it's not easy to pick the leader of your organization. One false move and you're down for three years. What a tough call.
About Tice, his departure was cold. Before he could tell his wife live, Tice was out. I even heard his son found out by receiving a press release with his Dad's name on it. Ouch. But the Vikings are not heartless: Mike Tice did have his farewell press conference. Seeing the Vikings backdrop, I can only assume the press conference I saw was from Vikings headquarters. I give the Vikings organization credit for that move. If I'm wrong, then shame on Zygi.
So far, only Tice is out. Defensive Coordinator Ted Cottrell is getting a look. It's a great job interview question: His best asset is his worst weakness: He knows this team. Wanting to turn the page, I would be surprised if the Vikings brass kept the man responsible for the Vikings second half resurgence. If they understand how far this defense has come in two short years full of turmoil, they'll keep Cottrell as DC and hire a new coach. After all, this defense is on the cusp of greatness. You don't have to look far in the division to see how far a good D will take you. After all, Chicago has a bye and it's not Kyle Orton's doing.
Directions to Consider
Since this is a strength, I don't see a reason to go defensively minded. Of course, the new coach will inherit a club that went 7-2 down the stretch because of the D so it won't be a bad thing, I guess. I don't see a need here so I'll move on.
One name that is interesting to me is ex-Rams coach Mike Martz. He left Saint Louis for mostly political reasons. His health is a question but try to find a coach who can sleep a full night's rest or if medically sound. The NFL is a thrasher harvesting men who love & live the game. Don't worry about Martz' health. With the D solidifying under Cottrell, the offense could use a little salsa. Let me tell you that Martz has more salsa than 2 Mexican restaurants. Seeing what he's done with Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce, and Jamie Martin, you have to wonder what he could do with Daunte Culpepper or Brad Johnson (who are already good) and Nate Burleson, Travis Taylor, Troy Williamson, and Koren Robinson. Could be scary!
Another option is to find a coach who can be the disciplinarian. Since Bill Parcels is employed, he's out. Finding the right guy is a real challenge. There's a fine line between rule enforcer and dictator. I believe one reason Tice is out is because of the distractions. Dating back to Randy Moss' antics to the boat scandal, Mike did not seem to have a hold on this club. If the Vikings go for discipline, it will be fun to watch.
Almost Bit 'Em in the Behind
I heard that Tice was originally fired when the club dropped to 2-5 (when Carolina whipped Minnesota 13-38). He asked to finish out the season. It seems like a good idea. After all, your candidates are limited during week 9 of the NFL. But that decision almost cost Zygi & company. Imagine their increasing horror as Tice rolled off six straight wins and was closing in on a playoff spot! After last year's Wild Card round victory, the brass must have been fearful. How could they fire a coach who just went to his second straight playoffs. That would have been tough. Luckily, the Steelers and Ravens saved them from disaster by beating Minnesota. Once eliminated from playoff contention, I'm sure their minds were made up. But it was close.
But of course, there's no guarantee that the next coach will fare any better.