Ex-Vikings Head Coach Rejected by Raiders

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Kevin O’Connell is the tenth Vikings head coach in the long history of the franchise. Norm Van Brocklin led the expansion team in the first seasons and he was followed by Hall of Famer Bud Grant. A short intermezzo with Les Steckel ended quickly and Grant returned. Jerry Burns, Dennis Green, Mike Tice, Brad Childress, Leslie Frazier, and Mike Zimmer have all written their chapters in Minnesota’s franchise.

Ex-Vikings Head Coach Rejected by Raiders

Ex-Vikings Head Coach Rejected by Raiders
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While Zimmer has stated his intention to return to coaching, he has not drawn any head coaching interest in this cycle but he could and perhaps should be a candidate to become a defensive coordinator once the top positions are filled. His predecessor Frazier, meanwhile, landed two interviews, one with the Las Vegas Raiders and one with the Los Angeles Chargers.

Unfortunately for him, the favorite in Las Vegas was hired for the job. Antonio Pierce took over during the season for the dismissed former Patriots coordinator Josh McDaniels and he turned the team around from a dysfunctional bunch to a competitive group. His players pounded the table for their interim head coach to keep his job after going 5-4 under his tenure and owner Mark Davis made it happen, making his players, especially star defender Maxx Crosby happy.

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Crosby said: “There’s only 32 head coaches in the whole world, so you’ve got to find a leader of men. And when you’ve got one of them in the building, I don’t know why you would let them go.”

He was reportedly flirting with the idea of requesting a trade had Davis indeed moved on from the interim head coach.

Former Viking Frazier is on a long list of candidates for the coveted job in Los Angeles. Mike Vrabel, former Titans head coach, and Michigan’s national champion Jim Harbaugh are two high-profile names.

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh lifts up the Rose Bowl trophy after a 27-20 win over Alabama at Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, Calif. on Monday, Jan. 1, 2024. © Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK.

They were joined by Bengals offensive coordinator Bryan Callahan, Raiders defensive coordinator Patrick Graham, Ravens coordinators Mike Macdonald and Todd Monken, former Stanford head coach David Shaw as well as Chargers interim head coach Giff Smith, Chargers offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, and 49ers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks.

The Chargers have also requested interviews with Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, and both Lions coordinators Ben Johnson and Aaron Glenn.

Morris, Graham, and Harbaugh were in consideration for Minnesota’s top job before the Vikings ultimately decided to hire O’Connell.

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The Chargers’ job is perhaps the most interesting available position as they have figured out the most important position with Justin Herbert under center and have some high-end talent on the roster. A team with a quarterback like that should always be relevant. They could look to hire someone who can elevate Herbert’s play even more or someone who can fix the defense to complement the passer.

It remains to be seen if Frazier is one of the top candidates in Los Angeles and if more teams show interest in the 64-year-old. Frazier was Minnesota’s head coach from 2011-2013 and the interim head coach in 2010, joining the franchise in 2007 as the defensive coordinator.

Raiders Kick off
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His last job was with the Bills, where he transformed his side of the ball into one of the league’s best. In the final three years in Buffalo, Frazier’s group ranked fifth in EPA/play. He then decided to take a year off but had always desired to make a return to coaching in 2024.

Frazier has a regular season record as a head coach of 21-32-1, but with an additional decade of experience and after leading some excellent defenses, he certainly deserves another chance.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt