Richard Martin

Brian Billick Should Be The Next Vikings Coach

Created on Nov. 08, 2013 5:43 AM EST

Sometimes so-called quarterback controversies are something else entirely – a coaching problem.

Take a close look at Minnesota. The team has three potential starting quarterbacks, all of whom have failed during the season.The jury is in on Christian Ponder. He was a huge reach in the early portion of the first round, and arguably shouldn’t have been picked until the fourth or fifth round.Josh Freeman was a waste of time and money. And Matt Cassel is a backup at best.

It’s all on the coaches and team executives, and the result is the disaster that just won’t end — the 2013 season. It stands to be the worst in Vikings history.

If so, that would mean two of the worst three seasons in team history were under Leslie Frazier’s inept leadership.  It’s time for the team to start looking ahead to signing a replacement (even if they don’t announce it until the end of the year).

Signing a good coach comes before getting a decent quarterback. And you have to get the right guy if you’re going to convince free-agent veterans to sign with Minnesota and star Vikings not to leave the sinking ship.

The right guy happens to be working in the Fox announcing booth. It’s Brian Billick, and he would be perfect in several ways.

He’s an offensive-minded coach who could sort through the quarterback mess and determine who to target either in free agency or in the draft. And what to do with the three guys they have now. He’s won a Super Bowl. He has credibility among veterans, who are suspicious of guys new to the NFL. College guys tend not to make it big in the NFL. Billick’s a proven winner.

Billick has worked for the Vikings. He was offensive coordinator in 1998-99, when the team was 15-1 and needed only a Gary Anderson field goal to reach the Super Bowl. Alas, it was not to be.

The Vikings have plenty of talent and could be a much-improved team next year with the right choices. They need to make sure Adrian Peterson will stick around and not force a deal, and either re-sign Jared Allen or get trade value.

Billick might demand control over the draft and free-agent signings. He should get it.

I think much of the failure of the Vikings goes back to coaching. They let Antoine Winfield go. Their play-calling leaves a lot to be desired. Coaches mismanaged losses to the Bears and Browns. Had the team won either of those games, the season might not have careened out of control as it did.

I like Billick when he calls games. It’s about big plays and turnovers, not “momentum.” He gets to the crux of the matter. He’s not just trotting out clichés. He’s intelligent and obviously relates well to players.

I wonder if he’s bored. I doubt if calling a game has the same adrenaline rush that you get from being a coach.

If I were the Vikings, I’d be calling him every day. I’d bet money he’ll have offers from someone. (Atlanta? Tampa Bay? New York Giants?)  I have the feeling he wouldn't accept just any opportunity, but he might if the right kind of deal were offered and he saw the chance to win.

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