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Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt completed his interviews with teams this weekend, during an allotted period, as he prepares to coach in the AFC Divisional playoff game in Denver on Sunday. The Lions were the first team to interview him (he also met with the Titans and Browns according to sources), and league sources said Whisenhunt remains very interested in that opening and the offensive pieces already in place.
He can’t complete a contract with a team until the Chargers season ends, but once that occurs negotiations with the Lions are expected to commence quickly.
The Vikings, meantime, had good meetings with Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, sources said, and they could end up the three finalist for that job (Minnesota interviewed 49ers defensive line coach Jim Tomsula on Saturday, likely to be the last of its first round of interviews). The need to land a quarterback is paramount for them, which could give Bevell (or another offensive coordinator like Greg Roman) a distinct advantage in the end there. General Manager Rick Spielman has struggled throughout his career to land a quarterback and if he does not get one soon, his job could be in jeopardy.
Zimmer, in the past with interviews, has not been aligned with a top offensive coordinator which has hurt his chances of landing jobs (this year his top choice was Bengals assistant coach Hue Jackson, who has since been promoted to offensive coordinator in Cincinnati). Zimmer is also one of several potential head coaches who are very high on Bengals assistant coach Paul Guenther, who would be the top choice to replace Zimmer as defensive coordinator in Cincinnati and would also be Zimmer’s choice as his defensive coordinator.
The Titans remain high on Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, sources said, with their general manager Ruston Webster a big fan of his, and the team is expected to wait for Quinn’s season to end (and a window to interview him to open up during the Super Bowl bye week) before finalizing their next head coach.