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Updated: January 19th, 2011 4:26pm
Bill Musgrave agrees to become Vikings' offensive coordinator

Bill Musgrave agrees to become Vikings' offensive coordinator

by Tom Pelissero
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The Minnesota Vikings' search for an offensive coordinator is over.

Bill Musgrave is their man.

The 43-year-old interviewed for the Cleveland Browns' offensive coordinator job on Tuesday, and reported on Wednesday morning he was expected to take that position. But Musgrave already had traveled to Minnesota, and he apparently accepted the job after meeting with Vikings officials on Wednesday afternoon.

In a statement released by the Vikings, Musgrave praised the organization and coach Leslie Frazier as "first class all the way," adding that he's stayed in touch with Frazier since meeting him about 10 years ago.

"The players on the offensive side of the ball are very attractive to be associated with," Musgrave said in the statement. "I'm looking forward to utilizing their strengths to get fantastic results. The offensive weapons on this squad are impressive. We as a staff will look forward to utilizing each and every one of them to attack defenses."

Musgrave had been the Atlanta Falcons' quarterbacks coach since 2006. He has been praised for his work with Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Ryan and was promoted to assistant head coach last year.

The onetime University of Oregon star previously had stints as offensive coordinator with Carolina (2000) and Jacksonville (2003 and '04) and also called plays for a stretch with Philadelphia in 1998. Musgrave presumably will call plays with the Vikings, too -- as opposed to Cleveland, where new head coach Pat Shurmur is expected to handle those duties.

Though Musgrave has experience in the West Coast offense, a variation of which the Vikings have run for years, it wasn't immediately clear what sort of scheme he would install. Frazier has said only that he wants to fit any scheme to his personnel and that All-Pro halfback Adrian Peterson will be the focal point.

Musgrave's work with young quarterbacks surely worked in his favor, and the Falcons' run-first mindset probably didn't hurt either. Under the direction of coordinator Mike Mularkey, they went 13-3 to earn the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs while ranking fifth in scoring (25.9 points per game) and rushing attempts (497). Michael Turner, the NFC's starter in the Pro Bowl, led the NFL with 334 carries and ranked third with 1,371 yards (4.1 average).

Frazier was scheduled to address reporters in a media conference at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday.

Also on Wednesday, the Vikings formally announced the hirings of special-teams coordinator Mike Priefer and linebackers coach/special assistant to the head coach Mike Singletary, as well as former linebackers coach Fred Pagac's promotion to defensive coordinator.

Openings remain for a quarterbacks coach, running backs coach and offensive line coach, with longtime Colts running backs coach Gene Huey reportedly mulling an offer to take the same job with the Vikings. The Tennessean reported late Wednesday that Titans running backs coach/assistant head coach Craig Johnson -- a quarterbacks coach from 2002 to '09 -- has been in talks with the Vikings as well.

Darrell Bevell, the Vikings' offensive coordinator since 2006, remains under contract, but he was in Seattle on Wednesday interviewing for the same job with the Seahawks. An NFL source said that meeting went well, and ESPN reported Seattle had offered Bevell the job.

There remained a chance Bevell could return to the Vikings as quarterbacks coach if that deals falls through, but it seems more than likely Frazier and Musgrave will fill that position from the outside.

The Vikings had only one other known interview for the offensive coordinator position, with Josh McDaniels on Jan. 7. McDaniels chose to take the same job with the St. Louis Rams on Tuesday.

Musgrave spent six seasons as a backup with San Francisco 49ers (1991 to '94) and Denver Broncos (1995 and '96) -- run by West Coast-leaning coaches George Seifert and Mike Shanahan -- before getting cut in 1997 and immediately going into coaching as an offensive assistant with the Oakland Raiders.

He went to Philadelphia in 1998, replaced Dana Bible as play-caller by the end of the season and then went to Carolina, where he spent a year as quarterbacks coach before being promoted to offensive coordinator. That lasted all of four games in the 2000 season before Musgrave resigned amid media criticism and reports of a tongue-lashing from Seifert in front of the team.

Musgrave subsequently spent two seasons as offensive coordinator at the University of Virginia, where he tutored current Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub. In 2003, Musgrave resurfaced with Jacksonville, where he was offensive coordinator for two seasons before being let go and heading to Atlanta. The Jaguars ranked 25th and 29th in points over those two seasons.

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
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