Report: Pagac relieved of coordinator duties
The long-anticipated move within the Minnesota Vikings' defensive coaching staff has finally taken place.
The St. Paul Pioneer Press is reporting that Fred Pagac has been relieved of his duties as defensive coordinator, but been asked to stay on as the team's linebackers coach.
The move had been expected after the team struggled mightily on defense during the 2011 season, Pagac's first full season as coordinator. Pagac replaced Leslie Frazer as the defensive coordinator late in the 2010 season after Frazier was promoted to head coach following the firing of Brad Childress.
Under Pagac's guidance, the Vikings finished 21st overall in defense this season, ranking 11th against the run and 26th against the pass. Minnesota allowed 28.1 points per game this season, 31st in the NFL. For a few weeks in the middle of the season, Frazier assumed the defensive play calling from Pagac, who was reportedly being ignored by some players in the much-maligned secondary.
The Pioneer Press reported that the team hasn't been informed whether Pagac will accept the demotion to linebackers coach or look for a job elsewhere. Pagac was held in high regard as the Vikings' linebackers coach from 2006-10.
Offering the job as linebackers coach is an interesting choice, given that the position is currently held by Mike Singletary, a close friend of Frazier. Singletary, who also holds the title of special assistant to the head coach, is believed to be in consideration for the defensive coordinator position.
It wouldn't be the first time this offseason that a coach was looked at for a position currently filled.
Since the season ended, Minnesota has interviewed at least two candidates to replace Pagac.
Raheem Morris, fired as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the season, interviewed before accepting a job as defensive backs coach for the Washington Redskins. Morris reportedly wasn't offered the coordinator job with the Vikings.
Minnesota also interviewed Jacksonville Jaguars interim head coach Mel Tucker, who chose to stay in Jacksonville in his former position as defensive coordinator after the Jaguars hired Mike Mularkey as head coach.
NFL Network's Jason La Canfora also reported Monday evening that the Vikings had requested permission to speak with Indianapolis Colts defensive backs coach Alan Williams for the coordinator position. La Canfora said an interview could take place Tuesday morning. Williams has spent the past 10 seasons with Indianapolis, including when Frazier was the team's defensive backs coach and special assistant to the head coach from 2005 to 2006.
Defensive line coach Karl Dunbar was fired last week in the first move of the offseason, though the team's defensive line was perhaps the strongest feature of the defense. Defensive end Jared Allen will be in the discussion for defensive player of the year after totaling 22 sacks, just a half-sack away from the NFL single-season record. Defensive end Brian Robison had eight sacks and three forced fumbles in his first season as a starter.
Defensive backs coach Joe Woods is currently still with the team.