NFC North: Mike Singletary

MINNEAPOLIS -- Now that the Minnesota Vikings have finally announced their coaching staff for the 2014 season, we can take a look at the list of assistants and see what trends emerge with the group new coach Mike Zimmer has put together. And as it turns out, it won't take quite as long to peruse the list as it did with predecessor Leslie Frazier's staff.

The Vikings currently have just 17 coordinators and assistants on their staff, down from the 20 they carried last season under Frazier. As ESPN.com Packers reporter Rob Demovsky pointed out this morning, that makes the Vikings' staff the smallest in the division and one of the smallest in the NFL.

That's not to say a leaner staff is good or bad -- it's simply a different way of doing business -- but it does offer some insight into how Zimmer might conduct business. In Cincinnati last season, he had five position coaches under him while he was the Bengals' defensive coordinator (former Vikings defensive coordinator Alan Williams had six).

It could also help Zimmer that he has offensive and defensive coordinators in Norv Turner and George Edwards who have done those jobs before. Frazier, on the other hand, was working with first-time coordinators Bill Musgrave and Alan Williams, who both seemed to struggle at times in Minnesota. Turner also has 13 seasons of NFL head coaching experience on his resume.

"We already talked a little bit about things. Scheduling, how we did things," Turner said. "He’s an extremely experienced coach. He's been with some outstanding people. I’m sure he has strong opinions of how he wants to do things and if there’s something he wants to lean on me, I’ll give him my opinion."

It's always possible the Vikings could add another coach or two, but assuming the staff is set for now, here are some factoids about each group:

The 17 coordinators and assistants on Zimmer's staff have a combined 278 years of coaching experience, for an average of 16.35 years per coach. Five coaches -- Turner, Edwards, special teams coordinator Mike Priefer, defensive backs coach Jerry Gray and offensive line coach Jeff Davidson -- have at least been coordinators for other teams before joining Zimmer's staff.

Frazier's 2013 staff had 336 years of experience across 20 coaches, or an average of 16.8 years per coach. Three coaches -- Priefer, Davidson and assistant linebackers coach Mike Singletary -- had at least been coordinators before coming to the Vikings. A fourth, assistant linebackers coach Fred Pagac, was the Vikings' defensive coordinator in 2010-11 until Frazier demoted him to assistant linebackers coach.
Welcome to Around the Horns, our daily look at what's happening on the Vikings beat:

Many Vikings fans will remember Brett Favre's final plays with the team as part of the coda to the team's macabre 2010 season. It was at the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium in December -- the Vikings were playing the Chicago Bears there after the Metrodome roof had collapsed -- and the field was not equipped with a heating system. On a cold night in Minneapolis, the surface "was like concrete," Favre said.

Favre hit his head on the turf and sustained a concussion that night, and it finally pushed him to do what he'd been unable to do for three seasons: walk definitively into retirement.

"As I was getting to the sidelines, I thought, 'Now if there was ever a time where the writing is on the wall, this is it,'" Favre recalled in an interview earlier this month with Sportstalk 570 Powered by ESPN in Washington this month. "[I] went in, took a shower, got some hot cocoa, got a hot dog and said, 'That's it.'"

In the interview, recounted here in this piece by ESPN's Johnette Howard, Favre admitted he is already experiencing memory loss at age 44, and suspects the many concussions he sustained during his legendary 20-year career. As many players as have come forward with chilling revelations about the physical toll of football, I'm not sure too many players can do it more effectively than Favre.

He built his reputation, more than anything, on being there every week, for 321 consecutive starts (including playoff games). He played through broken thumbs, sprained knees, dislocated shoulders and even concussions. During a 2004 game against the New York Giants, he sneaked back onto the field after sustaining a concussion and was celebrated for throwing a touchdown pass before leaving for good. At the time, no one was thinking -- no one knew -- what it was costing Favre.

He battled an addiction to painkillers in the 1990s with the Packers, all in the name of staying on the field. Eventually, he signed with the Vikings in part to prove to his former team they had moved on from him too early. That move made for great theater, but it cast a wedge between Favre and Packers fans that's just now starting to dissolve.

Most Vikings fans probably don't care much about when Favre gets his number retired in Green Bay, or when he is fully reconciled with the team for whom he played for 16 seasons. But what if the Packers wait another five years to bring Favre back, and he can't remember significant parts of his career?

That would be a sad footnote to his career, and a chilling testament to the toll that his 20-year career as the NFL's ultimate tough guy ended up costing Favre.

Here are Friday's other Vikings stories of note:
We're Black and Blue All Over:

Now that we've dissected Brian Urlacher's retirement and assessed his chances at enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, we should ask the next question: Will the Bears retire his No. 54?

That issue might be more complicated than the Hall of Fame. It would seem a natural next step, but the Bears already have 13 numbers retired in a sport where 90 players are taken to training camp and 53 make the final roster. It's worth noting that the Bears never retired the No. 50 of Hall of Fame middle linebacker Mike Singletary and actually put it back into circulation this spring when they signed free-agent linebacker James Anderson.

I appreciate all of you bearing with us Wednesday after Urlacher's announcement. We will now return to regularly scheduled May football coverage, starting with our morning tour around the division after a crazy-busy day:
  • Michael Wilbon of ESPNChicago.com thinks the Bears will be able to replace Urlacher even though they should have signed him for one more season: "If [Dick] Butkus can beget Singletary and he can beget Urlacher, presumptuous as it seems to say, the next great Chicago linebacker is out there, somewhere, waiting for the privilege to be accepted into the rarest of football fraternities."
  • David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune: "For a guy who came from tiny Lovington, N.M., Urlacher ideally fit an image immediately embraced by our big, blue-collar town. The face of the Bears franchise should feature a square jaw. Urlacher looked like a meat packer and worked as if he signed a time card instead of autographs. From his first day as a Bear to his last, Urlacher never considered himself special, which perhaps was why he became that way. No athlete since Michael Jordan symbolized Chicago more than Urlacher."
  • Urlacher maintained the Bears' tradition of middle linebackers, writes Rick Telander of the Chicago Sun-Times.
  • Detroit Lions receiver Nate Burleson has resumed practicing, two months ahead of schedule, after recovering from a broken leg. Chris McCosky of the Detroit News has more.
  • The Lions need Ndamukong Sun and Nick Fairley to step up as leaders, writes John Niyo of the News.
  • The Lions' development of defensive end Willie Young and offensive lineman Jason Fox will be telling, writes Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press.
  • Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew, via Anwar S. Richardson of Mlive.com: "I definitely took a step back last year. Kind of dinged up a little bit. Being in there, you're still expected to make the plays. Personally, I think I took a step back last year. It's time to get back to it, to what we had built a year before, just being a better player."
  • In case you missed it, Lions safety Louis Delmas isn't participating in organized team activities.
  • Packers defensive lineman Johnny Jolly has completed a court-ordered drug treatment program and is now free to begin working out with the team, according to Chris Roth of WBAY-Ch. 2.
  • Packers cornerback Tramon Williams has stepped up as the leader of the team's secondary, writes Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
  • Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers told the Jim Rome radio show that he hopes the team retires Brett Favre's No. 4 before he goes into the Hall of Fame. Weston Hodkiewicz of the Green Bay Press-Gazette has the quotes.
  • Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen said there has been no discussions about a contract extension, according to Dan Wiederer of the Star Tribune. Allen is entering the final year of his deal.
  • The Vikings won't have Urlacher as their middle linebacker this season, notes Ben Goessling of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
We're Black and Blue All Over:

No player has worn No. 50 for the Chicago Bears since Mike Singletary's last game 21 years ago, but it was not retired and apparently will not be anytime soon. The team issued it to new linebacker James Anderson, after a discussion between Singletary and chairman George McCaskey about the need to put it back in circulation.

McCaskey told Larry Mayer of the team's website: "I talked to Mike Singletary and told him that we hadn't assigned 50 to anybody since he retired and that we needed to put it back in circulation. He said he wasn't aware that it hadn't been assigned, that he's got no problem with it, and he's perfectly fine with it. In fact, he would prefer that it be assigned to somebody. He said, 'I'd rather somebody wear it than see it hanging it up in a window somewhere."

The NFL requires linebackers to wear numbers in either the 50s or the 90s. Two 50s have already been retired, No. 51 for Dick Butkus and No. 56 for Bill Hewitt. Singletary was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1998.

Continuing around the NFC North:
  • The Bears are hosting California center/guard Brian Schwenke on a visit Wednesday, according to Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com.
  • The Bears also signed a center, free agent Taylor Boggs, and two defensive linemen -- Andre Fluellen and Kyle Moore -- on Tuesday, notes ESPNChicago.com.
  • The Bears are "embracing change," said receiver Brandon Marshall via Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times.
  • Anwar S. Richardson of Mlive.com on the career of retired Detroit Lions place-kicker Jason Hanson: "There was nothing common about Hanson's 21-year career."
  • Lions general manager Martin Mayhew on new place-kicker David Akers, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press: "Another solid veteran, a guy with a lot of experience and playoff experience. He's been kicking outdoors his whole career. We think he'll get a boost from kicking inside, so I think he'll be a good player for us."
  • Retired Lions left tackle Jeff Backus, via Chris McCosky of the Detroit News: "I was extremely fortunate to play the number of years that I did. You start taking into account your age, the way your body feels -- it was an easy decision for me. I have three little kids. I want to run around the yard and play with them, have fun with them, coach them up and move on to that phase of my life. I've been extremely fortunate to play in Detroit for 12 years, to play for one team. The Ford Family has been great to me. The fans have been loyal. At the end of the day, it was just time for me to call it a career."
  • Tim Twentyman of the Lions' website spoke with Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o, who visited the team's facility Tuesday.
  • Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel profiles Vanderbilt quarterback Jordan Rodgers, the brother of Green Bay Packers starter Aaron Rodgers.
  • Weston Hodkiewicz of the Green Bay Press-Gazette: "Loyce Means would love to become the next Tramon Williams."
  • The Minnesota Vikings remain in contact with cornerback Antoine Winfield, but it's unclear if he wants to return, according to Judd Zulgad of 1500ESPN.com.
  • Vikings officials spent some time at Nike headquarters in Oregon viewing their new uniforms, which will be revealed April 25, according to Dan Wiederer of the Star Tribune.
We're Black and Blue All Over:

Last month, Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman was asked if veteran punter Chris Kluwe would be with the team in 2013. Spielman wouldn't answer. Kluwe has the highest gross average (44.4 yards) in team history, but he was inconsistent last season and is entering the final year of his contract.

Late last week, there were indications that the Vikings have worked out one of the highest-rated punters available in the draft. On his verified Twitter account, LSU punter Brad Wing re-tweeted a follower's wish of good luck Thursday in a workout with the Vikings. Later Thursday, Wing tweeted: "Had a good workout today! #blessed."

Private workouts with punters aren't common, but there are several reasons why a team might want to follow up with Wing. He didn't punt at LSU's pro day last month because of a strained hamstring. Also, there is a character question to at least investigate after he was suspended from the Dec. 31 Chick-fil-A Bowl for violating team rules.

ESPN analyst Mel Kiper lists Wing as the draft's second-best punter . A native of Australia, Wing averaged nearly 45 yards per punt over two seasons at LSU. It's important to remember that workouts don't indicate a team's plan to draft a particular player. Sometimes they prompt a team to look elsewhere.

Continuing around the NFC North:
  • Former Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield, whom the team would like to re-sign, has plans to visit the Seattle Seahawks this week, according to Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com.
  • Vikings assistant coach Mike Singletary on the team's situation at middle linebacker, via Ben Goessling of the St. Paul Pioneer Press: "We know we have to get one. That's no secret. When we do, we just have to teach him as much as we can, as fast as we can. It's going to be a lot of work."
  • Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune illustrates how the Chicago Bears are one of the teams that is loading up at a discount in a flooded free-agent market.
  • The Bears will host Kansas State linebacker Arthur Brown on a visit starting Monday, according to Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com.
  • Devin Hester on reducing his role to primarily special teams, in a radio interview via Adam L. Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times: "I'm fine with it. It was kind of my idea to let me more focus on my kickoff and punt return thing."
  • The agent for veteran tight end Matthew Mulligan confirmed the Green Bay Packers have agreed to terms with tight end Matthew Mulligan, according to Weston Hodkiewicz of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
  • Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "It remains to be seen if tight end Matthew Mulligan can crack the Green Bay Packers' final roster in 2013. If Mulligan does, the Packers will have a rugged tight end known more for his blocking than receiving for the first time since Bubba Franks' eight-year career concluded six years ago."
  • The Detroit Lions need defensive end Willie Young to step up this season, writes Anwar S. Richardson of Mlive.com.
  • Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press: "New Lions kicker David Akers has an impressive résumé. He has been very accurate historically, he tied an NFL record last season with his 63-yard field goal, and he's a six-time Pro Bowler. But it's very likely Akers is not as good a field goal kicker than Jason Hanson."
By the end of Sunday, it's possible the Chicago Bears will have concluded their first round of interviews in what has already been an epic coaching search. Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians was scheduled to be the 13th known candidate to speak with general manager Phil Emery. If there are more first-round interviews scheduled, they haven't been reported.

My educated guess is that some interviews have been completed in secrecy, so I wouldn't be surprised if Emery has spoken with 15 or more candidates. We've discussed the possibility that Emery is using this opportunity to pick the brains of as many smart assistant coaches as he can, but I think we have also seen an undeniable quality emerge as well.

Here's how Tennessee Titans general manger Ruston Webster put it last week during an interview with my AFC South colleague Paul Kuharsky on 104.5-FM in Nashville: "I know Phil Emery, and Phil Emery is about as thorough of a human being as I've ever known."

Meanwhile, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, two of the coaches Emery has spoken with said "they never have interviewed with anyone as prepared and detailed" as him.

So before we try to ascribe some kind of ulterior motive to Emery's approach, and rather than conclude he is flailing blindly in the night, perhaps this search is best viewed as a physical extension of Emery's meticulous personality. Where and when it ends remains anyone's guess. Former NFL coach Jimmy Johnson tweeted that Emery favored his former assistant, current Montreal Alouettes coach Marc Trestman, but nothing more has come of what appears to be Johnson's personal view.

For the record, here are the Bears' Lucky 13 to this point:
  1. Arians
  2. Atlanta Falcons special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong
  3. Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell
  4. New Orleans Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr.
  5. Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Tom Clements
  6. Dallas Cowboys special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis
  7. Houston Texans offensive coordinator Rick Dennison
  8. Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy
  9. Minnesota Vikings special teams coordinator Mike Priefer
  10. Vikings special assistant to the head coach Mike Singletary.
  11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan
  12. Trestman
  13. Bears special teams coordinator Dave Toub
We're Black and Blue All Over:

Minnesota Vikings receiver Percy Harvin will be back at the team's facility for at least one day soon to conduct his exit interview and physical. In speaking to reporters Tuesday, coach Leslie Frazier continued to downplay Harvin's departure from the team after he was placed on injured reserve and said he "coexists peacefully" with the franchise.

The Vikings have a decision to make this offseason on Harvin, who has one year remaining on his contract and thus could be in line for a contract extension. My sense on him remains the same: He might require more personal maintenance than most players, but he also produces more game-changing plays than most players.

That's not uncommon when it comes to building NFL teams. You deal with issues provided there is a reasonable reward. In Harvin's case, there is. He is too good of a player, and at 24 he is too young, to give up on.

Continuing around the NFC North:
We're Black and Blue All Over:

Make that an even dozen reported candidates for the Chicago Bears' open head-coaching position. The latest: Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reports the Bears want to interview a pair of Minnesota Vikings assistants: Mike Singletary and Mike Priefer.

Singletary had a Hall of Fame career as the Bears' middle linebacker and was the San Francisco 49ers' coach for parts of three seasons from 2008-10. But his time in Minnesota has been much less visible, and he is currently the Vikings' special assistant to the head coach and also works with linebackers coach Fred Pagac.

Priefer, meanwhile, is the third special teams coordinator's name to emerge. His work in identifying, drafting and developing Pro Bowl place-kicker Blair Walsh has been lauded throughout the organization.

It's now clear that Bears general manager Phil Emery is using this opportunity to meet as many NFL assistants as he can and assemble a mental database of their thoughts, ideas and personalities. Who knows how many of these candidates are serious contenders for the job, but it's worth noting that three of the 12 names that have been reported are from division rivals.

For what it's worth, Singletary is the only one with either head-coaching experience or a defensive background. ESPN's Adam Schefter has reported the Bears hope to bring two finalists to Halas Hall this week.

Continuing around the NFC North:
We're Black and Blue All Over:

Former Green Bay Packers safety Nick Collins hasn't decided whether to pursue a job with another team or retire, according to his agent via ESPNMilwaukee.com's Jason Wilde.

The Packers released Collins last week because they think a neck injury he suffered in September 2011 makes his return too risky. I wouldn't be surprised at all, however, if other teams have made inquiries about his health and status. Collins was a three-time Pro Bowl player and one of the NFL's best safeties before his injury.

Every team's medical staff is different, and there are no black and white answers with Collins' medical history. Someone might be willing to clear him. Ultimately, the decision could be up to Collins.

Continuing around the NFC North:

NFL Any Era: Jared Allen

January, 24, 2012
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Jared AllenESPN.com IllustrationJust imagine: Jared Allen relishes a sack of Hall of Famer Sonny Jurgensen.
Jared Allen's eyes lit up last month upon learning that 20 Hall of Fame players had named him to ESPN.com's Any Era team, comprised of current players whose skills and mentality would have made them a success at any point in football history.

"Wow, that's great," Allen said. "That's why I play, to earn the respect of the guys before me."

Here's a sampling of what some of our panel said about Allen, whose 22 sacks in 2011 fell one shy of setting a league record:
MIKE SINGLETARY

"Jared Allen is going to will himself to get to the quarterback. I don't know how he does it. I can't even really explain it, but he lines up and the next thing you know, he's got the quarterback. The mentality and relentlessness that he approaches the game with is second to none."

WARREN MOON

"Jared Allen is just a tough, hard-nosed player. He's a defensive end who can get to the quarterback, but if he has to play in the trenches, he can. When he played at Kansas City, he played the run well. And in Minnesota, he is more of a pass-rusher. He is a throwback type of guy if you know him. He's like a big cowboy. He wears cowboy boots and tight jeans and he's a real throwback."

MIKE DITKA

"Jared Allen plays every down, hard and physical. He could've played in the '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s. He brings it on every play and gives all he's got."

In the video below, Hall of Fame receiver James Lofton applauds Allen for his performance as an emergency long-snapper during a Week 12 game against the Atlanta Falcons. "And he's covering punts, and he's running 100 miles an hour. That tells me right there: football player."

A few thoughts after listening in on conference calls with Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier and his new defensive coordinator, Alan Williams:
  • Frazier said Williams will bring some "new energy" and "fresh ideas" to the defense, but it's clear the Vikings aren't changing the fundamental approach they have taken for the past six seasons. Williams and Frazier are both former assistants to Tony Dungy, who popularized the Tampa-2 scheme the Vikings now use. "We are going to keep a lot of the same principles in place," Frazier said. "… I did think a little bit about some other options that were available, but after evaluating our season and looking at our history on defense, we didn't want to get too far away from the things that have let us be successful here in the past." At this point, it would be a stunner if the Vikings shift to a 3-4, as they reportedly were contemplating.
  • Williams has never been a defensive coordinator, and Frazier will take more of a hands-on approach to the defense -- at least initially -- while Williams grows into the role. Frazier stopped short of saying who would call the defensive signals in Week 1, but he made clear he doesn't want to be a head coach/defensive coordinator. "Some guys can do that," Frazier said. "I don't think I can. But I do want to be involved early."
  • In a situation that is unusual, to say the least, Frazier said that former defensive coordinator Fred Pagac has agreed to return to coach linebackers along with current linebackers coach Mike Singletary. Frazier was not specific about roles or titles, but said that both Pagac and Singletary would be a part of daily linebacker meetings. I couldn't begin to explain how that will work. The Vikings are a 4-3 defense, but in nickel they play only two linebackers. Do they need two full-time veteran coaches? Asked how they would split duties, Frazier cited the need for someone to focus on sub packages.
  • Frazier used the Chicago Bears' 2010 defensive shuffle two years ago as a reference point, when coordinator Bob Babich was returned to his role as linebackers coach and defensive line coach Rod Marinelli took over for Babich as coordinator. "I've seen it work before in Chicago," Frazier said. "Between Babich, Rod and [coach Lovie Smith], they made it work. As long as you have the right people, it can work. … After sitting down and talking with the guys about what I was thinking and hearing their feedback, that assured me it could work."
  • The Bears analogy doesn't totally work. If Pagac is in the Babich role, moving from coordinator back to linebackers coach, then how does that account for Singletary? I have to assume Pagac is the primary linebackers coach, with Singletary serving in some kind of less-defined role that allows him to remain on staff as a trusted adviser to Frazier, a longtime friend.
  • As presumed, defensive backs coach Joe Woods will remain in his current role. Except for a few quality control assignments, the Vikings' defensive staff is now set.
Just to keep you updated, the Minnesota Vikings have made it official: Former Indianapolis Colts defensive backs coach Alan Williams is their new defensive coordinator and Brendan Daly will take over as their defensive line coach.

A news release made no mention of former coordinator Fred Pagac, who reportedly will share duties as linebackers coach with Mike Singletary, who will also be a special assistant to the head coach. I'll withhold most comments until later Thursday, when we should hear from coach Leslie Frazier.

In general, however, I would view these moves as more of a re-shuffling than a shakeup considering the familiarity of all involved. Frazier and Williams worked together on the Colts' staff in 2005 and 2006, and both are devoted to former Colts coach Tony Dungy's Tampa-2 defense. Williams was once part of a Tampa Bay Buccaneers staff that included Dungy as the head coach and former Vikings defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin as the defensive backs coach.

Daly was the Vikings' assistant defensive line coach from 2006-08, the final two years under Frazier. He replaced Karl Dunbar, who was fired. It is presumed that defensive backs coach Joe Woods will return in his current role. More to come.
As business closed Wednesday, the Minnesota Vikings appeared closer to having a defensive coordinator than a new stadium. Let's take a look at those unrelated issues one at a time.

Multiple news outlets -- including NFL.com, ESPN1500.com and the St. Paul Pioneer Press -- were reporting that Indianapolis Colts defensive backs coach Alan Williams will soon be hired as the Vikings' defensive coordinator. Williams and current Vikings coach Leslie Frazier were on the same Colts staff under former coach Tony Dungy, and Williams' arrival would ensure continuity for the Tampa-2 scheme Frazier prefers.

Other changes would still need to be worked out. The Vikings need a new defensive line coach, and reports suggest that former defensive coordinator Fred Pagac could return to coach linebackers. In that scenario, 2011 linebackers coach Mike Singletary would stay on staff as a special assistant to Frazier.

That's an awfully convoluted mix of incumbents, newcomers and demotions, one that we'll address if and when the Vikings confirm it.

Meanwhile, Gov. Mark Dayton failed to deliver a single stadium site or a financing plan, as previously promised, during a Wednesday news conference. Instead, he said that every credible site has outstanding questions that make it impossible to make a final recommendation to a state legislature that convenes next week.

With that said, Dayton has all but ruled out a suburban site in Arden Hills, Minn., saying the Vikings would have to cover gaps in local funding that would increase their required contribution from $425 million to $700 million. That isn't going to happen.

Dayton seems to favor a little-known site in downtown Minneapolis near the intersection of I-94 and I-394, known as the "Linden Ave." site, mostly because it would create a sports entertainment district with Target Field and Target Center. There has been little research done on the site, however, and local businesses have been vocal about their opposition.

The current Metrodome site, Dayton said, is a "default" site that would work if the so-called Linden Ave. site falls through. The Vikings haven't committed to a contribution for either Minneapolis site, however, and Dayton said he can't move forward until they do so.

At this point, I don't think anyone knows how this will play out. It sounds like an awfully large number of big decisions must be made in a short period of time in order for a stadium to be approved in the next few months. Dayton, however, characterized the situation as "first-and-goal at the 5-yard line." Hmmm. We better check his red zone percentage.

The Vikings' Metrodome lease will expire Feb. 1, and while they have indicated they would reject offers to relocate, they have also said they won't sign a lease for 2012 until a new stadium is approved. Stay tuned.

Mike Singletary: Fired or promoted?

January, 16, 2012
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At some point, presumably soon, the Minnesota Vikings will wrap up what has already been a two-week review of their defensive coaching staff and determine a direction for 2012. To this point, however, we have a better idea of who won't be a part of it than who will.

The latest domino to drop is coordinator Fred Pagac, whom the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported was fired Friday. The Vikings offered Pagac a job as their linebackers coach, however, a demotion that calls into question the status of current assistant head coach/linebackers Mike Singletary.

NFL teams occasionally make courtesy offers to fired coordinators, fully expecting them to be turned down. But even if that was the case with Pagac, the Vikings couldn't have done it without already having made a decision on Singletary. As we discussed Monday, it wouldn't be surprising to hear that Singletary has been fired or that he has been promoted to defensive coordinator. The fact that both possibilities are legitimately on the table provides powerful commentary on the state of the coaching staff at the moment.

At least two outside candidates who interviewed for the coordinator job have signed on elsewhere. Raheem Morris joined the Washington Redskins as their defensive backs coach, and Mel Tucker remained in his job as the Jacksonville Jaguars' defensive coordinator. Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com has reported that current Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Juan Castillo could emerge as a candidate as well.

The Vikings will coach the North team at the Senior Bowl, where the festivities begin a week from Monday. Stay tuned.

BBAO: And then there were none

January, 16, 2012
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We're Black and Blue All Over:

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- I can't say I was expecting the NFC North season to end Sunday. We had two of our teams finish among the top 12 in the NFL this season, based on playoff berths, and I figured that, one way or the other, we would be playing into late January. But both the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers lost their opening playoff game and now everyone is home for the winter.

That pushes our blog into full offseason mode, which means plenty of filler posts and nonsensical debates are headed your way. Ha! In reality, we seem to have as much to discuss during the winter and spring around here as we do in the summer and fall.

Thanks to all of you for hanging with us from the wild post-lockout free-agent scramble through an eventful and historic regular season. And for those of you who are new, please know that this blog is active 12 months per year. Stop in whenever you like. We'll leave the light on for you.

As always, we'll take a Monday morning spin around the division. I'll have a final Free Head Exam on the Packers later Monday and we'll go from there.

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