The Vikings are one of four teams to request an interview with Jay Gruden, offensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals.
Gruden, who has won praise around the league for his work with Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton, is free to interview for jobs now that the Bengals are out of the playoffs, and could emerge as one of the hottest coaching candidates this offseason.
It’s telling that four of the five teams with coaching openings — Washington, Tennessee, Detroit and the Vikings — have requested permission to talk to Gruden and even though the Bengals’ offense sputtered in the team’s loss to the Chargers on Sunday, Gruden has built plenty of momentum before this season.
He interviewed for four jobs — Seattle, San Diego, Philadelphia and Arizona — after last season, and seemed likely to get strong consideration this year. The Bengals jumped from 18th to sixth in the league in offense in Gruden’s three seasons, and they’ve made the playoffs in each of his three seasons working with Dalton, who was drafted after the Vikings took Christian Ponder.
Gruden, the younger brother of ESPN “Monday Night Football” analyst Jon Gruden, would follow the Vikings’ interviews with Seattle offensive and defensive coordinators Darrell Bevell and Dan Quinn over the weekend.
They also have scheduled talks with Arizona defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and Cleveland defensive coordinator Ray Horton on Monday and Tuesday, and had requested to talk to Denver offensive and defensive coordinators Adam Gase and Jack Del Rio.