Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Updated: January 20, 2:14 PM ET
Vikings hire Bill Musgrave
ESPN.com news services
The Minnesota Vikings hired Bill Musgrave as offensive coordinator Wednesday.
The Vikings beat out the Browns for Musgrave's services. League sources told ESPN's senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen that Cleveland offered Musgrave the same job and assured him he would eventually assume play-calling duties from new head coach Pat Shurmur.
The Browns aggressively pursued Musgrave, attempting to lure him to Cleveland even while he was interviewing with new Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier, the sources said.
With Musgrave out of the picture, the Browns have turned their attention to former University of Miami offensive coordinator and Steelers quarterback coach Mark Whipple, league sources told ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter.
The Vikings also officially announced Wednesday that Mike Singletary was joining the team as linebackers coach and assistant head coach. They announced Thursday they had added former Titans assistant Craig Johnson as quarterbacks coach and former Panthers offensive coordinator Jeff Davidson as offensive line coach.
Singletary actually broke the news of his hiring a day earlier on a Chicago radio station. He said that he is looking forward to joining forces with his close friend.
Singletary spent most of the last three seasons as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers and his friendship with Frazier dates back to their playing days together with the Chicago Bears.
"It's a great honor and a tremendous opportunity that I would have a chance to coach with Leslie," Singletary said in a statement issued by the team. "He's a quality coach and I know that to be a part of something that he's doing is special. When I look at what they have put together as an organization they have a lot of the pieces in place to do some special things. I'm excited to come there and be a part of that and help take it to the next level."
Musgrave replaces Darrell Bevell, who was the offensive coordinator all five seasons under previous head coach Brad Childress. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Bevell was going to interview for the offensive coordinator position in Seattle on Wednesday. A source told ESPN.com senior NFL writer John Clayton that Bevell had been offered the Seahawks' job and contract talks were expected to wrap up within the next day.
Minnesota also interviewed fired Broncos coach Josh McDaniels, but he wound up taking the offensive coordinator position in St. Louis.
Musgrave worked with Matt Ryan as the Atlanta Falcons' quarterbacks coach, but likely appeals to Frazier because of his work in the Falcons' run-first system. Frazier has said that running back Adrian Peterson should be the focal point of the Vikings offense going forward, especially with Brett Favre not coming back.
"The players on the offensive side of the ball are very attractive to be associated with," Musgrave said in a statement. "I'm looking forward to utilizing their strengths to get fantastic results. The offensive weapons on this squad are impressive."
The Vikings filled out the rest of their staff by naming Mike Priefer the special teams coordinator and announcing that Fred Pagac will remain on the staff as defensive coordinator.
Priefer spent the previous two seasons running the special teams in Denver. In Minnesota he'll work with established punter Chris Kluwe and kicker Ryan Longwell, if he is re-signed.
"I have kind of been envious of the core special teams guys here in Minnesota," Priefer said. "We had some good players in Denver but I know there are some outstanding players there in Minnesota and I look forward to working with them."
He will have to get a crash course in current events, however. As part of his statement, Priefer said he was looking forward to playing indoors at Mall of America field.
"I'm very excited to play at Mall of America Field, especially late in the year," he said. "Having a domed stadium is a definite advantage I think for both teams. You have to look at it as a kicking advantage for your guys that do that every week."
Just one problem -- the Metrodome's roof collapsed under heavy snow in December and has yet to be repaired, leaving some doubt as to where the Vikings will play next season.
Information from ESPN's senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen and The Associated Press contributed to this report.