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AP source: Vikings invite Hackett, 6 others for interviews

(AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)

By DAVE CAMPBELL

AP Pro Football Writer

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The Minnesota Vikings have begun the search for a new coach by seeking interviews with an initial slate of seven candidates, including Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett.

According to a person with knowledge of the process, speaking Saturday on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because the organization was not publicizing the requests, the Vikings also asked to interview Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon, Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell, San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans and Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn.

With the rival Packers on a first-round bye for the playoffs, Hackett was allowed to talk to teams this weekend. He completed an interview Saturday with the Denver Broncos for their opening. In his third season with the Packers, Hackett is in his eighth year as an offensive coordinator in the NFL.

The Buccaneers, Eagles, Cowboys, Rams and 49ers were all playing postseason games Sunday or Monday. Win or lose, all candidates would be allowed to interview after their first-round game.

Bowles and Quinn have been head coaches before. Bowles spent four seasons with the New York Jets, going 24-40 from 2015-18. He received strong consideration from the Vikings for their vacancy in 2014, when they hired Mike Zimmer. Quinn had five-plus seasons running the Atlanta Falcons, posting a 43-42 record with a Super Bowl appearance after the 2016 season.

Bowles and Ryans are Black, satisfying the NFL's Rooney Rule requirement of interviewing at least two external minority candidates for any head coach opening in light of the league's lagging progress on diversifying the pool of people in the top jobs. After the Miami Dolphins fired Brian Flores and the Houston Texans fired David Culley, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin became the only Black head coach for the time being among the 32 clubs.

The Vikings fired Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman earlier this week, after a second straight year missing the playoffs.

Team ownership plans to fill the general manager job first to give that person input into the critical decision of hiring the coach, but there are seven other teams - the Dolphins, Texans, Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Jacksonville Jaguars, Las Vegas Raiders, and New York Giants - also with a vacancy so the Vikings can't afford to fall too far behind.

The Vikings have requested general manager interviews with an initial slate of eight candidates: Cleveland Browns vice president of football operations Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, Eagles director of player personnel Brandon Brown, Browns vice president of player personnel Glenn Cook, Tennessee Titans director of player personnel Monti Ossenfort, Kansas City Chiefs executive director of player personnel Ryan Poles, Eagles vice president of football operations Catherine Raiche, Buccaneers vice president of player personnel John Spytek and New England Patriots scouting consultant Eliot Wolf.

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Updated January 15, 2022

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