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Friday, January 16, 2009
Possible successors to Vikings' Leslie Frazier

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

Minnesota defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier could learn as early as Friday whether he will be the St. Louis Rams' next coach. If he gets the job, the Vikings will be searching for their eighth defensive coordinator in the past 11 years.

Who will coach Brad Childress select to replace him? The two defensive coordinators of his tenure -- Frazier and Mike Tomlin -- both share Tampa-2 roots. That is the base formation of Childress' preferred defense, although Frazier has brought a significant level of Philadelphia-style blitzing during the past two years.

For now, I'll throw out a few names as possible candidates to replace Frazier if it comes to that. A lot could change based on availability and whether teams allow Childress to interview assistants who remain under contract. So consider this a working list:

Name: Fred Pagac
Current position: Minnesota linebackers coach
The skinny: More than a few people thought Pagac when Tomlin departed after the 2006 season and were surprised when Childress waited until after Super Bowl XLI to interview Frazier. A longtime college assistant, Pagac has never served as an NFL coordinator but has done a fine job with the Vikings' linebackers during the past three seasons. He has pushed E.J. Henderson and Chad Greenway to near-Pro Bowl status and appears to be the only coach who has ever gotten through to Napoleon Harris. The Vikings made a seamless transition from Henderson to Harris at mid-season, a credit to Pagac's skills.

Name: Sean McDermott
Current position: Philadelphia secondary coach
The skinny: He won't be available to interview until Monday at the earliest, but Childress has shown a willingness to wait before. (See Frazier.) McDermott and Childress spent six years together on the Eagles' coaching staff and Childress, like many coaches, often hires based on familiarity. You could expect McDermott to bring many of the Eagles' blitz packages to his next job, but the Vikings could have competition for his services. Green Bay might also be interested. And there is no guarantee that the Eagles will let him out of his contract.

Name: Karl Dunbar
Current position: Minnesota defensive line coach
The skinny: Shortly after the season, Dunbar said on KFAN-AM radio that he was not interested in the job if Frazier left. It's possible Childress has let him know already that he wouldn't be a candidate, but it's also possible that Dunbar didn't want to be perceived as campaigning for the job. He is highly regarded as a defensive line coach and Vikings players swear by him. This would be his first coordinator's job but he's a name at least to keep an eye on.