The Vikings have narrowed their head coaching search to four candidates with 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans declining a second interview and dropping out of the running to remain in San Francisco, according to NFL Media's Tom Pelissero. But a new name emerged over the weekend as Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh expressed interest during a Zoom meeting. Days after hiring former 49ers and Browns executive Kwesi Adofo-Mensah as their new general manager, the Vikings are now set to interview Harbaugh in person for their vacancy on Wednesday, which is also National Signing Day for prospective college football players.
Per ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, Harbaugh showed legitimate interest during his first interview with the team. The Vikings left the interview feeling Harbaugh is ready to make his return to the NFL and is in the mix for the job. Also in the mix for the head job are Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell and defensive coordinator Raheem Morris along with Giants defensive coordinator Patrick Graham.
Cleaning house after the 2021 season, the Vikings could be looking to reunite Adofo-Mensah with Harbaugh, who worked alongside the new GM in San Francisco. The NFL is aware of Harbaugh's interview and is awaiting the formal paperwork that must be filed for all head coaching interviews. This is Harbaugh's first known interview of the 2022 hiring cycle and his most substantive connection to an NFL team since his abrupt departure from the league as 49ers head coach following the 2014 season.
The 58-year-old Harbaugh has led Michigan to a combined 61-24 record since taking the top job at his alma mater in 2015. Before that, he spent four years as the 49ers' coach, going 44-19-1 and guiding San Francisco to three NFC Championships, as well as one Super Bowl. He exited prior to the 2015 campaign due to a fracture with 49ers management. At the time, Adofo-Mensah was a director of football research and development for the 49ers.
Harbaugh, the older brother of Ravens coach John Harbaugh, has been speculated as a target for multiple teams' head coaching jobs over the years but has not advanced in an official interview process. The Vikings have hosted at least a half-dozen others to interview for the job last held by Mike Zimmer, including Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn.