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Updated: January 20th, 2011 11:06am
Vikings hire Jeff Davidson, Craig Johnson as position coaches

Vikings hire Jeff Davidson, Craig Johnson as position coaches

by Tom Pelissero
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Leslie Frazier's first staff is nearly complete.

The Minnesota Vikings' coach announced on Thursday morning the team has hired Jeff Davidson as offensive line coach and Craig Johnson as quarterbacks coach, leaving only a vacancy for a running backs coach.

Davidson, 43, spent the past four years as the Carolina Panthers' offensive coordinator. A former offensive lineman who played four seasons with the Denver Broncos, Davidson previously had coaching stints with New Orleans, New England and Cleveland.

"One of the things that I really like about Jeff was the fact that (the Panthers) were able to find a way, with DeAngelo Williams along with Jonathan Stewart, to have two 1,000-yard rushers in the same backfield," Frazier said.

"As you know, we have two outstanding backs in our minds with Adrian (Peterson) being the premier back in the National Football League and then with Toby Gerhart, who is a guy we have high hopes for. Just to be able to find a guy who understands and knows how to incorporate two very good backs in the run game was something that really kind of got my interest in."

Johnson, 50, has been an assistant with the Tennessee Titans since 2002 -- coaching quarterbacks until 2009 and then becoming assistant head coach/running backs coach in 2010.

"He's done a good job over the course of his career," Frazier said. "Having him will be a great addition to our staff."

Both will assist offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, who was hired on Wednesday.

The Vikings also announced Ryan Silverfield has been named assistant offensive line coach. Silverfield, 30, joined the Vikings in 2008 as an offensive/defensive assistant and spent the past two seasons assisting Karl Dunbar with the defensive line.

There will be no other changes to the existing staff, Frazier said. So, the last task is to find a running backs coach.

That job that reportedly has been offered to Gene Huey, a friend of Frazier's who held the same job for 19 years with the Indianapolis Colts before he was fired this week.

"We're real close in getting that done," Frazier said. "No particular guy. I'm not saying any names. But we're close to getting some things done at the running back position."

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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In this story: Leslie Frazier, Toby Gerhart