49ers Rumors: DeMeco Ryans to Interview with Vikings; Raiders Plan to Meet With DC

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 22, 2022

San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans works the sideline during an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans, Thursday, Dec. 23, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/John Amis)
AP Photo/John Amis

San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans is scheduled to interview with the Minnesota Vikings for their vacant head coaching job Sunday, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Schefter added that the Las Vegas Raiders are planning to interview Ryans for their head coaching position as well.

First, Ryans will lead the San Francisco defense against quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers at frigid Lambeau Field on Saturday night in an NFC Divisional Round playoff game.

The 37-year-old Ryans is in the midst of his first season as the 49ers defensive coordinator after serving as their defensive quality control coach in 2017 and their inside linebackers coach from 2018 to 2020.

Ryans replaced Robert Saleh, who was hired by the New York Jets to be their head coach prior to the 2021 season after he spent four years as 49ers defensive coordinator.

With Ryans at the controls, the San Francisco defense improved, going from fifth in total defense and 17th in scoring defense in 2020 to third in total defense and ninth in scoring defense in 2021.

Ryans benefited from the Niners' key defensive players being healthier than they were in 2020, but it was an impressive bounce-back nonetheless, especially given Ryans' lack of experience as a coordinator.

He has only been coaching in the NFL for five years, but Ryans likely wouldn't struggle to command the respect of players as a head coach given his background.

In 10 NFL seasons as a linebacker with the Houston Texans and Philadelphia Eagles from 2006 through 2015, Ryans was the Defensive Rookie of the Year, a two-time Pro Bowler and a one-time Second Team All-Pro.

Ryans would give the Vikings or Raiders a fresh new face and perspective at head coach, which could be what both franchises desperately need.

The Vikings fired Mike Zimmer at the conclusion of the 2021 season after eight seasons as head coach. Zimmer went 72-56-1 and took the Vikes to the playoffs three times, but they missed the postseason in both 2020 and 2021.

Las Vegas actually reached the playoffs this season under interim head coach Rich Bisaccia, who went 7-5 after Jon Gruden resigned after leaked emails showed he used racist, misogynistic and anti-gay language.

Bisaccia figures to be a strong candidate for the Raiders job considering what he was able to do under such difficult circumstances, but Ryans could be an attractive option as well given the youth and energy he would bring.

Ryans figures to get a long look as a head coaching candidate, but first he will try to guide the sixth-seeded Niners past the top-seeded Packers in what should be a competitive NFC Divisional Round game Saturday night.