Jim Harbaugh to have second interview with Minnesota Vikings
February 2, 2022
Following Mike Zimmer's contract termination, the Minnesota Vikings are currently looking for a new head coach. They have already interviewed several candidates, including Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon.
The Minnesota Vikings' coaching search has narrowed down to four candidates after DeMeco Ryans, 49ers defensive coordinator, declined to interview for the job and Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh emerged as a potential candidate.
After interviewing with the Vikings on Saturday via Zoom, Harbaugh reportedly made it clear that he wanted the job. Minnesota has scheduled an in-person interview with Harbaugh on Wednesday, which is also the National Signing Day for college football.
According to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, the Vikings left their interview with Harbaugh with the belief that he is ready to return to the NFL. On top of that, the Vikings are also interviewing other head coach candidates, including the Giants' defensive coordinator Patrick Graham, the Rams' offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell, and defensive coordinator Raheem Morris.
Adofo-Mensah, Harbaugh might reunite in Minnesota
After hiring former 49ers and Browns executive Kwesi Adofo-Mensah as the new general manager, Vikings is planning to reunite Adofo-Mensah with Harbaugh.
In the 2011 to 2014 season, Harbaugh worked very closely with Adofo-Mensah to lead San Francisco 49ers to three NFC championships with one Super Bowl title. Adofo-Mensah was a director of football research and development, while Harbaugh was the head coach of 49ers.
However, Harbaugh had to say goodbye to his colleagues in San Francisco after a fracture with 49ers management.
If Harbaugh decided to join Minnesota Vikings with his former 49ers colleague, it would take a slight adjustment for them to lead the Vikings to be a Super Bowl contender team. In the 2021 season, the Vikings finished in second place in NFC North with an 8-9 record, but they got knocked out by the Packers in the playoff.
Harbaugh's profile in Michigan
In his seven years at the University of Michigan, Harbaugh has compiled a record of 61-24. He was 0-5 against Ohio State during his first six years. However, that changed in 2021. The Wolverines defeated the Buckeyes and won the Big Ten championship game. For that, the team made it to the College Football Playoff for the first time under Harbaugh.
It might seem that Harbaugh had a slow career at Michigan, but having a 61-24 record in college football is not something every coach could achieve.
Before the 2021 season, Harbaugh agreed to a five-year contract extension with the University of Michigan, which lowered his base pay by about half.
The 2022 season is already shaping up to be a significant change for the Wolverines. They will lose several key players to the upcoming NFL draft. Those players include senior defensive end Aidan Hutchinson and linebackers Daxton Hill and David Ojabo.
As for who would replace Harbaugh in Ann Arbor, it would seem that the likes of Iowa State's Matt Campbell, Minnesota Golden Gophers' P.J. Fleck, and Carolina Panthers' Matt Rhule could be in the running.