Flores lawsuit could shift Harbaugh leverage back in favor of the Minnesota Vikings
If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably wavered a little bit when it comes to the viability of University of Michigan Head Coach Jim Harbaugh landing in Minnesota as the Vikings new head coach. This time last week he wasn’t a part of the conversation, by Friday he had interviewed and fast forward to today he’s the favorite to land the job after his interview today.
Why the full court press? What changed over the last week or so that took this from literal zero to sixty?
There’s a few things. First, according to sources close to the situation Jim Harbaugh was Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s top-choice out of the gates when he was named the new general manager of the Minnesota Vikings. The pair crossed paths in San Francisco and both made an impression on the other.
Secondly, Harbaugh saw the opportunity as a good fit for him and what he wants to do. Seeing a young, first time general manager who is more on the analytics side than the personnel side of things and the pair seem like a good match. Kwesi does his thing facilitating and quantifying decisions behind the scenes while Harbaugh comes in with a big, powerful presence to manage the other side of the organization.
But thirdly, and maybe most importantly a gigantic flim-flam was dropped on the Miami Dolphins as of yesterday and word of said lawsuit may have leaked out leading up to the weekend.
On Tuesday, former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores brought forth a class action lawsuit against the NFL and three teams, primarily the Dolphins & Giants and owner Stephen Ross claiming racist management and hiring practices.
In a strange turn of events, the Giants situation came to light thanks to a mistaken text message string from Patriots head coach Bill Belichick who had congratulated Flores on landing the Giants job before he even interviewed claiming he had heard that he won the job already. Turns out, Belichick meant to text Brian Daboll instead of Flores and outed the fact that the Giants had made up their mind prior to interview Flores, a violation of the Rooney Rule.
But for the Miami Dolphins, there’s a lot packed into this one and the cross-hairs are focused squarely on owner Stephen Ross.
Remember, Ross was the tie between Harbaugh and Miami as he is a huge donor for the University of Michigan and giant fan of Harbaugh. The landing spot just made too much sense.
But that’s all changed now.
Flores alleges that in an attempt to land the top pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, Stephen Ross offered the head coach a $100,000 bonus per game lost to essentially throw the game and land a higher pick. Hue Jackson has since come out and alleged a similar situation occurred in Cleveland with he and the Browns.
Now, this is a gigantic problem for Miami and a huge distraction that will follow the team as long as any investigation and legal process occurs. That’s a problem for anyone whose goal is keeping players focus fixed on on-field activities, like a head coach. Furthermore, ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio joined The Paul Allen Show on KFAN this morning and claimed that this particular scandal with the Dolphins could even go as far as taking franchises away from owners as a punishment for damaging the integrity of the game.
“This could cost NFL owners their franchises,” Florio shared. “If the NFL investigates this the way that they should…this idea that there was a Tim Donaghy style scandal with owners deliberately wanting to lose games…when you catch someone in the act and if there’s anything to it it’s time to start ripping franchises away from owners.”
The interview process for a head coach in the NFL is a two-way street as we know. So as much as the organization is feeling out Harbaugh as coach, Harbaugh is feeling out the organizational situation as a fit for himself. That’s a hefty distraction that was just added to the list for the Dolphins, including the top level punishment of his buddy Stephen Ross being on the outs, for all intents and purposes that crosses the Dolphins off the list for Harbaugh and leaves the Minnesota Vikings or a return to the University of Michigan as the only options left on the table.
According to sources out of Michigan, the goodbye process was already begun earlier this week for Harbaugh and the Wolverines, so all eyes are on the meetings taking place right now at TCOPC in Eagan.
This should make the negotiation process for the Vikings a little bit easier as dropping Miami from the mix tips the leverage play a little more in favor of the team.
Aj Mansour is a member of The Power Trip Morning Show on KFAN and works for iHeartMedia and the Vikings Radio Network. He’s also a senior writer for VikingsTerritory.com. Be sure to follow him on social media for the latest Vikings news and big opinions – @AjKFAN
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