MINNEAPOLIS -- When he was talking about the decision to fire coach Leslie Frazier on Monday, general manager Rick Spielman said he thought the Minnesota Vikings' job was one of the most attractive of the six that are currently open, and offered the following basis for that evaluation:
"I think this is a very attractive job," Spielman said. "I think when you talk to people on the outside, that the young talent that we do have on this roster, with all the new coming in, the new stadium and potential facilities online coming in, I don't think we're in a total rebuilding mode. A coach is going to come in as a partner that I look to work hand-in-hand with and we have great ownership that is willing to put whatever it takes to put a winning product on the field. We're going to be in a great cap situation, it's a situation where a head coach comes in and I feel it can be a quick turnaround."
Spielman shouldn't be expected to say anything other than that, but his portrayal of the Vikings job might be a tad optimistic. At the very least, it's only as positive as Spielman is making it out to be if the Vikings can get a number of things right this offseason. They'll have to solve their quarterback situation. They might have as many as six open positions on their defense, and the fact that they're spending the next two years at the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium -- moving outdoors as tenants in a college facility before opening their new home in 2016 -- is a cause for uncertainty.
The Vikings job, according to Grantland's Bill Barnwell, is the second-least attractive of the six openings, and with an ownership group that is now looking for its fourth coach in nine years, a new coach would likely want some show of faith as he enters yet another turnaround phase with a young quarterback. We've seen teams rebound quickly behind young quarterbacks and innovative schemes lately, but Spielman has to find both of those things. Otherwise, if the next coach's tenure lasts as long as Frazier's did, he'd only be in the new stadium for one full season.
The nice thing about the job, from a defensive perspective, is that the Vikings' personnel might be flexible enough for a coach who would want to run a 3-4. Defensive end Brian Robison said on Monday that he played linebacker in college, and didn't sound opposed to the possibility. If the Vikings bring back Everson Griffen, they could have a prototypical pass-rushing linebacker in a 3-4, and defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd played in Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn's 3-4 scheme at the University of Florida. Quinn runs a 4-3 in Seattle, but if he or Arizona defensive coordinator Todd Bowles wanted to run a 3-4 with the Vikings, they'd have some players who might fit.
But the Vikings will have to sell candidates, first and foremost, on their ability to find a quarterback. Spielman's miss on Christian Ponder helped cost Frazier his job, and while a new coach would have some say in the Vikings' direction at quarterback, the final call would be Spielman's. The job could be a good fit for an opportunistic coach with vision, but it will take some imagination to see it as the best job out there this winter.