Skip to main content

Vikings gauge Jim Harbaugh's interest in head coach opening, to hold second interviews with DeMeco Ryans, Kevin O'Connell

The Vikings plan to conduct in-person, second interviews for their head coaching job this week with multiple candidates, including Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell and 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans, while continuing to explore the possibility of hiring Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, according to sources.

Minnesota requested and received permission from Michigan to speak with Harbaugh -- standard process for NFL teams -- and had an exploratory conversation with him Saturday afternoon to gauge his interest, sources say. Nothing further is scheduled, but Harbaugh remains a candidate for the job and it wouldn't be surprising if the Vikings bring him to the facility this week.

Like O'Connell and Ryans, Harbaugh spent time in San Francisco with new Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, who worked in the 49ers' research department from 2013-19 before spending two years as the Browns' vice president of football operations. Coming off a College Football Playoff appearance at his alma mater, Harbaugh has been exploring a possible return to the NFL, where he was 49-22-1 (including playoffs) from 2011-14 with a Super Bowl appearance.

O'Connell and Ryans square off in Sunday's NFC Championship Game at SoFi Stadium. Win or lose, both are eligible for second interviews this week, with O'Connell scheduled to meet with the Vikings on Monday. O'Connell also is expected to have a second interview with the Texans, and NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Sunday that O’Connell has emerged as a candidate for the Jaguars' head coaching job as well.

The Vikings conducted a virtual interview Saturday with Giants defensive coordinator Patrick Graham, a Yale alum who also has a relationship with the fellow Ivy Leaguer Adofo-Mensah (Princeton).

Minnesota's initial round of virtual interviews also included Nathaniel Hackett (who was hired by the Broncos), Cowboys DC Dan Quinn (who opted to stay in Dallas), Cowboys OC Kellen Moore, Eagles DC Jonathan Gannon, Bucs DC Todd Bowles and Rams DC Raheem Morris.

Follow Tom Pelissero on Twitter.