It seems pretty much a done deal that Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier will fire defensive coordinator Fred Pagac and perhaps the rest of the staff on that side of the ball – except for his good buddy, linebackers coach Mike Singletary.
That's what happens when your defence gives up an average of 28.8 points per game (31st in the NFL), 260 passing yards per game (29th in the league) and your run defence – 108 yards per game (12th overall) has fallen out of the top 10 in that category for the first time in recent memory.
But whom should the Vikings target to replace Pagac? The guy Frazier and vice-president of player personnel Rick Spielman should have on speed dial is Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo, who is expected to be fired after St. Louis' season ends on Sunday.
Although I have read that Spagnuolo – if he is canned in St. Louis – will run back into the waiting arms of his old employer, the Philadelphia Eagles, the Vikings should at least make a strong pitch for his services if he's available. In 2008, his last year as the Giants defensive coordinator, the G-Men had the fifth-best defence in the league.
Scribes like ESPN 1500's Tom Pelissero have been beating the "Vikings should switch to the 3-4" drum somewhat this season. But as I've argued in the past, Minnesota's defensive struggles are talent-based, not 4-3-based. And with your best defensive player stating he's got no interest in becoming a pass-rushing linebacker in a 3-4 scheme, the team would have a tough time selling the switch to an already grumbling fan base.
However, if the Vikings are going to stick with the 4-3 system, they do need to shake up how they run it (and get some better safeties, cornerbacks and linebackers). The Vikings do have some talent on defence – Jared Allen, Kevin Williams, Brian Robison, Everson Griffen, Chad Greenway and Antoine Winfield. But they also need a coordinator who can get the most out of them and design ways to free them up to make big plays.
Spagnuolo was able to do that with the Giants. I think he could do it with the Vikings. What we don't know is if the Vikings would be interested in Spagnuolo, and if Spagnuolo would be interested in the Vikings.