The Vikings on Sunday interviewed the first of multiple candidates for their head coach opening, confirming that they spoke with Packers Offensive Coordinator Nathaniel Hackett.
Vikings Owner/President Mark Wilf told media members last week that the search for head coach wouldn't be rushed – and that hiring a general manager would come first – but that the search would be expansive.
Minnesota is among eight teams currently with a vacancy at head coach, including Las Vegas, which finished its season with Rich Bisaccia as interim head coach.
The Athletic's Mike Sando ranked those openings from most desirable to least, and he slated the Vikings at No. 2 behind the Broncos. Sando opined that Denver, Minnesota and Las Vegas have the "best chances for success" of the eight teams. He wrote:
The Vikings and Raiders already have decent veteran quarterbacks. Minnesota has some higher-end personnel pieces, including receiver Justin Jefferson, and ownership there has given its coaches and GMs ample time/latitude to build the roster. George Paton's presence as the Broncos GM was seen as a positive. There was also some thought Denver could be in position to make a play for Aaron Rodgers if the Packers quarterback pushes for a trade.
Sando anonymously quoted a league executive, who said the following:
"I would put Minnesota over Vegas because in Vegas, you still have [Patrick] Mahomes and [Justin] Herbert right there with you in the division, whereas the NFC North is pretty weak. You have good resources in Minnesota, and whether or not you like [Kirk] Cousins, you can win with him, and I don't think [Derek] Carr is any better."
Sando put the Bears, Dolphins and Giants into a "probably more bad than good" category.
The Bears changed their structure so the next GM will report directly to ownership instead of through [Team President] Ted Phillips, but one exec suggested there are zero guarantees the situation would function that way practically. Another called Chicago's ownership "low-end neutral" while noting that the Bears "are just kind of there" and distanced from their tradition.
"From a roster construction standpoint, Chicago is a very desirable location if you ask me, including the fact that you could possibly trade (Justin) Fields," said a coach who analyzed the Bears roster but did not vote in this poll.
The Texans and Jaguars landed at the very bottom of Sando's rankings; he noted they're "fatally flawed until proven otherwise."
K.J. Osborn 'ridiculously underrated,' a PFF stat shows
After playing zero snaps on offense in his rookie season, Vikings receiver K.J. Osborn made his presence felt in Year 2.
Osborn played in all 17 games for Minnesota, making nine starts, and finished the year with 50 catches for 655 yards and seven touchdowns. And analytics site Pro Football Focus recently pointed out a note-worthy stat:
Jordy McElroy highlighted the PFF stat and wrote the following for USA TODAY’s Vikings Wire:
Osborn's name got lost in a year where receivers were breaking records and being mentioned in MVP conversations. But one stat from Pro Football Focus put everything into perspective of what was clearly a breakout season for the second-year receiver out of Miami.
Osborn's emergence just adds to the fact that the Vikings are ridiculously loaded on the offensive side of the ball. It should also generate some level of excitement heading into next season, especially with former All-Pro receiver Adam Thielen returning to the field.