EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings are launching a new era with searches for their open general manager and head coach spots.
Every year multiple teams have embarked on this process, but Minnesota has not been in the position of hiring a general manager since promoting Rick Spielman to the role in 2012 or hiring a head coach since Mike Zimmer was selected in January 2014.
Vikings Owner/President Mark Wilf said Monday that the team plans to start with the GM, and the person hired will help decide the 10th head coach in franchise history. Wilf envisions a process that is timely yet thorough, contemplative but efficient.
"Both searches are starting right away, but the GM is going to be our first selection, and then the GM will have input in the head coach," Wilf said. "But we've begun our process right away. It's an internal process and it's something – we have great football operations people here in the building, and we're going to lean on them as well as our relationships in the league and elsewhere.
"There are a lot of good candidates, and at the same time, we know that this a highly desirable place for people to be," Wilf added. "We have a great core of talent, great facilities, a great fan base, great community. We're confident we're on a good process, and we've already gotten started on that work."
The NFL establishes rules for the interview timelines when interviewing candidates who are employed by other teams to fill head coach, coordinator, "high-level club employee (primary football executive/general manager) and secondary football executive" positions.
The window to begin in-person or virtual interviews of candidates who work for a team that did not make the playoffs opened Jan. 10.
Candidates who work for teams that earned a first-round bye (the Titans and Packers this season) also were able to start interviewing on Jan. 10. The window to interview candidates from those teams will continue through the conclusion of Wild Card games on Jan. 17.
Between Jan. 16-18, in-person and/or virtual interviews for a head coach spot may be conducted with coaches whose team won a Wild Card game. That window will continue through the conclusion of Divisional games.
On Jan. 24, in-person and/or virtual interviews may begin for coordinator positions with coaches whose teams won a Wild Card game. That window will continue through Jan. 29, the day before the AFC and NFC Championships.
All other interviews with coaches whose teams are still participating in the playoffs will be prohibited until Jan. 31.
On. Jan. 31, the day after the Super Bowl participants are decided, assistant coaches with those two clubs who previously interviewed for a head coach or coordinator position may have a second in-person or virtual interview no later than Feb. 6.
Second interviews with assistant coaches who teams participated in the Super Bowl can resume on Feb. 14, the day after Super Bowl LVI.
On March 2, clubs are no longer required to grant permission to another club to discuss a position as a head coach or coordinator with an assistant coach who is under contract for 2022 and/or beyond.
From that date through the 2022 NFL Draft (April 30), clubs also are not required to grant permission to another club to discuss a high-level club or secondary football executive position with an employee who is under contract for 2022 and/or beyond. Interviews for those front-office positions can resume between May 1 through June 30, and requests for interviews cannot be denied during that window.
The NFL also has hiring guidelines in place, including the "Rooney Rule," which was established in 2003 to promote diverse hiring practices for head coach and general manager positions.
Clubs who are filling head coach, coordinator or general manager positions are required to interview at least two external minority candidates for any of those positions.
There are no requirements to interview any number of internal or external minority candidates when hiring for other coach positions or an assistant GM role.
Permission to interview a candidate with another club must be sought in writing from the owner or operating head of the club.
Clubs seeking to interview a college coach or employee must determine whether the candidate is under contract and if the contract allows the candidate to discuss employment and a potential release. If the contract does not have those rights, a club must seek permission from the school's athletic director.