EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The Minnesota Vikings could narrow down their list of head coaching candidates after conducting their initial round of interviews next week, but it sounds like they'll try to meet with at least one more candidate before the end of the week.
General manager Rick Spielman and other members of the front office are scheduled to be in Charlotte on Saturday, before the San Francisco 49ers' playoff game with the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. Saturday is the last day they could talk to 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman before the end of San Francisco's season; Roman is believed to be high on the Vikings' list of coaching candidates. ESPN 49ers reporter Bill Williamson also wrote earlier this week that the team is interested in talking with San Francisco defensive line coach Jim Tomsula, as well. But if the Vikings are interested in coming up with a list of finalists next week, it'd behoove them to talk to Roman sooner than later.
Per NFL rules, teams have until Sunday to speak with coaches whose teams were playing in the wild-card round of the playoffs. Any coach whose team reaches the Super Bowl can have a second interview with a team during the week between the conference championship games and the Pro Bowl, but in order to talk to Roman a second time that week, the Vikings would have had to conduct a first interview with him before the 49ers' game on Sunday. They would be in the same boat with Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn if the Seahawks reached the Super Bowl, but the Vikings conducted first interviews with both of those coaches last weekend, while the Seahawks had a bye week.
Roman, who helped the 49ers get to the Super Bowl last season after they changed quarterbacks in the middle of the season, has won praise for his varied, resourceful offense and his ability to get production with two different quarterbacks (Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick). He also coached Andrew Luck while he was Jim Harbaugh's offensive coordinator at Stanford.
The Vikings are also believed to have strong interest in Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, with whom they talked on Wednesday, and Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, whom they interviewed on Monday. They also talked to Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton on Tuesday, and had requested to talk with Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, though the Vikings couldn't speak with either candidate before the end of the season if they hadn't talked to them before this weekend. The Broncos play their first playoff game on Sunday afternoon.