Mike Singletary set to join Vikings; new special teams coach hired

By Chip Scoggins and Judd Zulgad

Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 18 2011 10:20 p.m. MST

MINNEAPOLIS — The Vikings remain tight-lipped about their coaching staff changes, but one well-known coach confirmed he's joining Leslie Frazier's staff, one hot candidate is not and a new name entered the discussion.

The Vikings hired Hall of Fame linebacker Mike Singletary as their linebackers coach and assistant head coach. Singletary told an ESPN radio affiliate in Chicago about his hiring Tuesday morning.

The move was long expected and it reunites Singletary and Frazier, close friends and former teammates with the Chicago Bears.

The Vikings have not officially announced Singletary's hiring, but the former San Francisco 49ers head coach fills one of the vacancies on Frazier's staff. Mike Priefer also has agreed to terms to become the Vikings new special teams coordinator. Priefer, the former Denver Broncos special teams coordinator, replaces Brian Murphy, who left for the Carolina Panthers.

Frazier's search for an offensive coordinator saw several interesting developments Tuesday. ESPN reported that the Vikings will interview Atlanta Falcons quarterbacks coach/assistant head coach Bill Musgrave on Wednesday. Musgrave also reportedly was expected to interview for the same position with the Cleveland Browns on Tuesday.

Frazier's presumed top target for that position is no longer available. Former Denver Broncos coach Josh McDaniels agreed to become offensive coordinator for the St. Louis Rams after a crazy day of rumors. Frazier interviewed McDaniels for that same position on Jan. 7 and presumably had been waiting for McDaniels to make a decision.

The NFL Network reported Tuesday morning that McDaniels "likely" would choose the Rams. By mid-afternoon, several outlets reported that negotiations between the Rams and McDaniels had hit a snag and that the team had requested interviews with other possible candidates.

A league source confirmed to the Minneapolis Star Tribune that the Rams asked the Vikings for permission to interview offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell for the job. Bevell remains on Frazier's staff, but his status has been unclear since Frazier was promoted to head coach after the season.

While rumors swirl, the Vikings have declined to confirm coaching news. Musgrave, a former NFL quarterback, has experience both in the West Coast system and as an offensive coordinator. He served in that role with the Philadelphia Eagles (1998), Carolina Panthers (2000), University of Virginia (2001-02), Jacksonville Jaguars (2003-04).

He has served as Falcons quarterbacks coach since 2006 and helped develop quarterback Matt Ryan. His background working with quarterbacks likely is appealing to Frazier, who has stressed the importance of identifying a franchise quarterback this offseason.

Singletary joins the staff after being fired by the 49ers with an 18-22 record in two-plus seasons, including 5-10 this season. He coached linebackers in Baltimore and San Francisco before becoming a head coach.

"It's definitely exciting," Vikings linebacker Jasper Brinkley said. "He's a Hall of Fame player. He's one of those guys that as a young player you want to try and pick his brain because he has a lot of knowledge of the game. I know he's one of those tough coaches, a rah-rah kind of coach, so you definitely have to come to work for him every day. I'm excited about that."

Frazier still needs to hire a line coach, running backs coach and quarterbacks coach on the offensive side. Fred Pagac is expected to be promoted to defensive coordinator.

(c) 2011, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

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Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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