A day after the Vikings include two days of practice during their playoff bye week, offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur will begin three days of interviews with teams interested in him as their next head coach.
According to a league source, Shurmur is tentatively scheduled to speak with the Detroit Lions and Arizona Cardinals on Thursday, the Chicago Bears on Friday and the New York Giants on Saturday. All four interviews are scheduled to take place in Minnesota, where Vikings coaches will continue to prepare for the team’s three possible opponents in the NFC divisional playoffs.
Assistant coaches from teams with first-round byes can interview for head coaching jobs this week, but are not permitted to conduct second interviews until their teams are eliminated from the playoffs or the bye week between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl, whichever comes first. Coach Mike Zimmer said earlier this week the Vikings would require teams interested in any of his coordinators to come to Minnesota for interviews this week.
A league source said Monday the Cardinals and Bears were expected to have the most interest in Shurmur, who went 9-23 as the Cleveland Browns’ head coach from 2011-12.
Shurmur has attracted widespread interest in the early stages of the NFL’s 2018 coaching search after directing the league’s 10th-best offense this season. The Vikings, who ranked 23rd in total offense and 32nd in rushing yards a year ago, jumped to seventh in rushing this year while breaking in a new offensive line, replacing Adrian Peterson and adjusting to the loss of Dalvin Cook to a torn ACL in Week 4. And with Sam Bradford playing just six quarters in the regular season, the Vikings had the NFL’s 11th-best passing offense, thanks to Shurmur’s work with Case Keenum.
Defensive coordinator George Edwards, who helped direct the NFL’s top-ranked defense this year, is also on the Fritz Pollard Alliance’s list of minority candidates for head coaching jobs. Edwards coached the West team at the East-West Shrine Game last year, leading his team to a 10-3 victory.