Turnover On Defense Could Be Coming
Now that the Tidily Winks have landed in their proper places at Winter Park, and it has been clarified that Leslie Frazier has control over who leaves and who joins the Vikings coaching staff, the next question that will need to be answered is, well, who leaves and who joins?
According to a lengthy report from Tom Pelissero, the changes are most likely going to be experienced on the defensive side of the football.
For starters, defensive line coach Karl Dunbar has reportedly told players that he will not be returning, although it is unclear whether that is by choice or otherwise.
Defensive backs coaches Joe Woods and Matt Sheldon have also been preparing for the possibility that they will not be welcomed back.
It is widely expected that defensive coordinator Fred Pagac will either be dismissed or allowed to return to his previous post as the linebackers coach which is currently occupied by Mike Singletary (I will get to that in a second). Pagac was not allowed to run the cover-1 blitzing defense, which is his preferred scheme, and reportedly “lost the confidence of some players” and was stripped of his play calling duties for a portion of November.
I find the case of Pagac to be a mysterious one, and tend to fall out of the majority here in thinking he should not be fired.
It was Pagac’s play calling and defense that largely kept the Vikings in close contests for the first five weeks of the season while they tried their best to bail out a completely inept offense.
Later on, the excuses began to pile up for a defense that began to lose their punch. Those excuses are just that, excuses, but it is hard to deny that the Chris Cook legal situation and numerous injuries in the secondary gave Pagac very little to work with.
Then, when Pagac was seemingly given permission to take the gloves off and run his cover-1 scheme in the final week of the season, the Vikings generated a ton of pressure against the Bears and allowed 17 points, the second lowest point total allowed by the Vikings all season long. The defense hadn’t played better since week five (when they were healthier) against Arizona, but again the offense didn’t have the firepower for the Vikings to win the game.
I’m not saying the Vikings couldn’t do better than Pagac, I just think he needs to be given a little more credit for the job he has done in his first year as a coordinator. If the Vikings let him go, I get the feeling he will succeed elsewhere.
Okay, back to Mike Singletary.
According to Pelissero’s report, the close friend of Leslie Frazier (and assistant Head Coach) made a complete ass out of himself this season. There are apparently concerns about his intelligence and also his preparation for game day, both of which are not good things to have said about you, no matter what type of coach you are.
Singletary supposedly often left assistant Jeff Imamura in charge of position meetings, skipped meetings the night before December’s game against Detroit to attend a wedding, and “occupied himself much of the season with side projects” instead of preparing his players to win football games.
It is not completely known who will for sure be leaving, or who their replacements might be, but it does seem likely that Singletary will be asked to move along.
These are all answers we should get soon enough.