The Vikings are expected to interview San Francisco 49ers defensive line coach Jim Tomsula, according to NFL reporter Adam Caplan, for Minnesota’s head-coaching vacancy.
It is the first reported interview with a position coach after an extensive list of coordinators the Vikings have been talking with about their head coaching job. According to NFL rules, the Vikings would have to interview Tomsula before the conclusion of this weekend’s playoff games if the 49ers continue in the playoffs.
On Thursday, the Washington Redskins hired former Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden as their next coach. The Vikings were scheduled to interview Gruden on Thursday as one of at least 10 coordinators they have shown interest in, according to numerous reports.
Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said he identified 13 categories of coaching candidates and none was more successful than another. However, so far the Vikings are reported to have shown interest in at least 10 coordinators – both offensive and defensive – from the NFL, but Tomsula, as a position coach, makes it another category.
Before Leslie Frazier was ever fired as head coach of the team on Dec. 30, the Vikings reportedly were interested in a couple of college coaches – Penn State’s Bill O’Brien, who took the head coaching job with the Houston Texans, and Vanderbilt’s James Franklin, who has reportedly been offered the job at Penn State.
Tomsula was the defensive line coach for the 49ers when Mike Singletary was their head coach, and Tomsula was the interim head coach for the final game of 2010, after the 49ers had fired Singletary and before Jim Harbaugh was hired as the full-time head coach.
Tomsula has coached football for 28 years at numerous different levels – high school, college, NFL Europe (as a head coach and defensive coordinator) and the NFL. In addition to head coach and defensive coordinator, he has coached linebackers, defensive line and strength and conditioning.
With the 49ers the last six seasons, the team has been known for a stingy run defense – ranking fifth, eighth, third, second, first and and fourth in yards per carry in his time there – and an improving pass rush. Before his arrival, the 49ers were 16th in yards per carry in 2006.
The 49ers also set the NFL record by going the first 14 games of 2011 without allowing a rushing touchdown and allowed the fewest (three) in a season since 1978.
In 2010, the 49ers allowed 96.7 yards rushing per game, the lowest rushing total allowed by the franchise since 1997.
As for the pass rush, the 49ers ranked 18th in sacks in 2013, but those numbers have been on rise. In his first two seasons with the 49ers, they had 65 sacks combined. In their last two seasons, they have had 80 sacks combined, with 38 of them this year.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.