News broke early Monday that the Minnesota Vikings had decided to part ways with Leslie Frazier after an overall embarrassing season in 2013 (per ABCNews.com). Their search for a new head coach now begins, and they'll have plenty of quality names to look over.
One man who should definitely be on that list of names is Rob Ryan.
The current defensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints has always been a respected football mind, and he could be a great fit in Minnesota. This team is one that lacks leadership and inspiration, and Ryan could mend both of those issues.
His reputation as a defensive guru precedes him but was especially strengthened this season when he turned New Orleans into a top-five team defensively after they were ranked dead last in 2012. The Vikings certainly need the help, as their unit ranks 31st in the NFL.
Ryan's hard-nosed, fiery approach is what brings out the best in his defenses, and it could have the same effect on an entire team should he be given the chance as a head coach.
It's not like Minnesota is a wasteland of players; the Vikings have much talent on both sides of the ball. It seems like they're just a quarterback and a competent coach away from being real contenders. Although it was a bit lucky, they were a playoff team just a year ago and aren't too far away from returning to the postseason.
Minnesota has a group of young, talented players, and Ryan could take them to the next level. If we've learned anything about the Ryan family as coaches, it's that they're resilient and confident, and that can take a team a long way.
Just look at what his brother and father have done in the NFL. Rex Ryan did a masterful job of handling the New York Jets' trials this season and last season, while Buddy Ryan built a legacy through his storied 46 defense. Rob Ryan is the only one of the three who has never held a head coaching position, and it's about time he did.
What matters is the Vikings need hope, and Ryan can provide that. He's an instant upgrade from Frazier and probably makes Minnesota's defense a top-10 group. If the Vikings do make the move to bring in Ryan as their next coach, then we could be seeing them return to the playoffs sooner than later.