Who is a better fit as the next Minnesota Vikings head coach? Is this a classic case of offense versus defense… and which of those represents the bigger need for the Vikings?
Both coaching candidates carry the dreaded “retread” label as each previously served stints as head coaches in the NFL. Ken Whisenhunt in Arizona from 2007-2012, and Jack Del Rio in Jacksonville from 2003-2011, both experienced some success as head coaches and both were fired after a couple disappointing seasons.
Ken Whisenhunt started his coaching career at Vanderbilt coaching special teams, tight ends and running backs during his first two seasons as an assistant. After spending time in Baltimore, Cleveland and with the New York Jets, Whisenhunt was hired by the Steelers to coach tight ends in 2001. He moved up the ranks in Pittsburgh and was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2004. After 11 seasons as an assistant coach, Whisenhunt was named head coach of the Arizona Cardinals in 2007.
Jack Del Rio got his start in 1997 as a strength coach for the Saints and then spent three seasons as a linebackers coach for the Ravens before John Fox hired him as a defensive coordinator in 2002 with the Carolina Panther. One season later, Jack Del Rio was walking the sidelines as the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars. It only took Del Rio six seasons as an assistant coach before he landed his first head coaching job.