After cutting ties with Leslie Frazier, the Minnesota Vikings are in the midst of a search for their next head coach. For general manager Rick Spielman, it will be one of the most important decisions of his tenure with the team.
Though he would like to get a new coach hired as soon as possible, the best approach would be to wait to talk to all candidates. The Denver Broncos have two potential coaches that the Vikings should take a very close look at.
Defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio has ties to the organization, playing linebacker there from 1992-95. Del Rio also has previous experience as a head coach, leading the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2003-11.
Though he compiled a losing record of 68-71, it shouldn't be forgotten that he led the Jaguars to the playoffs on two occasions. In 2007, that Jacksonville team earned a 31-29 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Wild Card Round.
He did all of this with David Garrard as his quarterback.
This season, Del Rio was forced into the head-coaching position of the Broncos on an interim basis while John Fox missed several games due to medical issues.
This season, the Vikings finished ranked No. 31 in terms of total defense. Only the Dallas Cowboys were worse. This is an area in which Del Rio could certainly improve the team.
If the Vikings want to bring in an offensive-minded coach, Denver offensive coordinator Adam Gase could and should be on their radar.
Though Peyton Manning will get most of the credit, Gase was in charge of an offense that averaged 457 total yards per game. They averaged 10 points per game more than any other team while setting an NFL record for points in a season with 606.
For those that believe Manning is responsible for all of Denver's success on offense, take a look at Mike McCoy. He was the offensive coordinator in Denver from 2010-12 before becoming the head coach in San Diego this offseason.
McCoy helped the Chargers reach the postseason for the first time since 2009.
There is no doubt that Manning is a big reason for the success in Denver, but Gase also had a hand in Knowshon Moreno's resurgent season along with the emergence of tight end Julius Thomas.
Minnesota will likely be looking for its quarterback of the future in the upcoming NFL draft. Gase would be a good choice to help develop that quarterback.
Gase has said that he wants to hold off on all interviews until after the Denver Broncos' season has concluded.
Cincinnati offensive coordinator Jay Gruden and defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, as well as Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn could all be candidates for the vacancy. Cleveland defensive coordinator Ray Horton will likely get an interview as well.
Spielman should keep his options open and conduct several interviews. But he shouldn't make a decision until he's talked to both Del Rio and Gase.