GM Spielman's first coaching search will be 'extensive' and 'tedious'
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - The Minnesota Vikings search for a new head coach won't be quick or easy.
General Manager Rick Spielman addressed the media on Monday just hours after coach Leslie Frazier was fired. Even though Spielman claimed the decision to fire Frazier was recent, he had done extensive homework on how he would conduct his first head coaching search since taking over as GM in January 2012.
"It will be a very extensive search," Spielman said. "I've sliced every way you can slice it. I've looked at 13 different categories where coaches come out of.
"Our number one goal is to start the search immediately. That process will start this afternoon, and I expect to have interviews lined up over the next three or four days. Timeline on putting a new head coach in place -- ideally, the situation you would like to have that done by the Senior Bowl. That's usually the time frame where it gives the head coach an opportunity to not only interview our coaches currently on staff but also put together the best coaching staff possible."
The Senior Bowl is Jan. 25, but that's not a hard deadline for the Vikings, Spielman said.
Owner Zygi Wilf recited a statement and did not take questions, even though Spielman followed him up by saying the decision to both hire - and fire - Frazier was the ownership's choice alone.
Spielman confirmed that he will lead the coaching search and present top candidates to ownership when ready.
"I will be leading the charge and I will be working with Mark [Wilf] and Zygi [Wilf] that will ultimately with myself, sit down and make the final decision," Spielman said. "We will go through that process and once we narrow it down to the potential two or three, our ownership will be involved along with myself through the interview process and we will work collectively to get the decision the right way."
"It will be a very tedious process."
The Vikings held a 21-33-1 record under Frazier - with seven different quarterbacks in 55 games. Spielman's 12th overall pick in 2011, quarterback Christian Ponder, started 35 of those contests - including nine of the 16 games in Frazier's last season.
Despite admitting fault at picking the wrong quarterback, Spielman continued to put the onus on Frazier for who started on any given Sunday.
"I haven't got [the quarterback] right yet. We've worked as hard as we could to try to get that right. I tried to use as many outside sources as I can. I'm not afraid to look at experts in that particular area," Spielman said. "But as a GM, whether I'm right or wrong, I don't believe you dictate to a coach who needs and who doesn't need to play."
In terms of getting the quarterback right, Spielman plans on consulting his new coach and any new staff. Frazier's assistants are still under contract for 2014 and will need to get clearance from the Vikings before taking any new positions, whether urged to or not.
"I'm going to rely heavily on our head coach and whoever our offensive coordinator is and whoever our quarterbacks coach is and they're going to be heavily involved in this process," Spielman said. "A lot of it has to do with, too, making sure that that quarterback fits in the system that you're trying to run."
The Vikings are not concerned with moving swiftly to lock up a coaching candidate as Spielman claims they don't have a No. 1 candidate.
After five coaches in the franchise's first 40 years, Spielman is tasked with finding the Vikings' fourth coach since 2001 - and while he's hastily researching and preparing, he's not worried about losing out on would-be coaches.
The Vikings are one of six current NFL teams searching for a head coach.
"I think there's a lot of potential candidates out there. I don't think everybody needs to panic [and say], 'This team already hired a guy. This team already hired a guy. What are the Vikings doing?'" Spielman said. "We are going to go through our process and do our due diligence and I think there is enough potential candidates out there that we will be able to get the guy that we want."