On Friday, the Minnesota Vikings made it official--the organization truly is clueless. After agreeing to interview the former head coach of the disastrous Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Vikings showed the door to Kyle Dunbar, coach of the one consistently bright spot on their team. Asked whether he was getting a raw deal, Dunbar, playing the part of someone who knows he did get a raw deal but who also hopes to gain employment in the NFL in the near term, stated that the Vikings "did not kill my family. . . so, no, I did not get a raw deal."
Firing the quarterbacks coach, wide-receivers coach, linebackers coach, offensive line coach, secondary coach, special teams coach, offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator, or head coach all would have made some sense for Minnesota. But sense has not resided in Minnesota for some time now. So, perhaps thinking that the mantra that you cannot fire everyone ought to prevail under these circumstances, the Vikings opted to fire the one sign of competency on their current coaching staff.
Dunbar presided over a unit that consistently has been among the league's best at stopping the run. While some teams show strength agains the run due to a weakness against the pass, to the extent that teams passed well against the Vikings this season--and they surely did--it had little to do with the Vikings' inability to put pressure on the quarterback; in 2011, the Vikings' defensive line arguably performed its best in years. That, despite losing Pat Williams and left defensive end Ray Edwards in the off-season.
Under Dunbar, Jared Allen has been at least as productive as the Vikings had reason to hope when they traded a first-round pick to Kansas City for him, the left end has had success, no matter who has played the position, and the Vikings have survived the loss of a Pro Bowl nose tackle, with no heir apparent. Only Kevin Williams stands out as a player playing below his ability, and even Williams has played well enough to hold his position.
If the Vikings' defensive woes of 2011 and earlier had anything reasonably to do with Kyle Dunbar, World War II can be traced directly to Leslie Frazier. It's beyond absurd, but, so, too, has become this "storied" franchise.
Up Next: Probably Too Much to Hope for Draft Day and Free Agency Competence, But Here's Hoping Anyway.