MINNEAPOLIS -- Scott Linehan agreed Wednesday to a
three-year contract with the Miami Dolphins to be their offensive
coordinator. Linehan held the same job with the Minnesota Vikings
for the past three seasons, overseeing one of the league's best
After interviewing with new Miami coach Nick Saban, Linehan said by phone from Florida that the security offered by Dolphins owner
Wayne Huizenga was too attractive to pass up.
"He's hired a new coach and given him a very good basis to
retool here," Linehan told The Associated Press, "and they're
going to give him time to get it done."
Minnesota coach Mike Tice, who gave Linehan his first chance to coach in the NFL in 2002, has one year left on his contract. Owner
Red McCombs also has the team on the market, and the uncertainty
surrounding the franchise was a concern for Linehan and his family.
"I'm indebted to the Vikings organization for giving me an
opportunity," said Linehan, who is regarded as one of the NFL's bright young offensive minds.
He presided over the development of Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper and an offense that, during his tenure in Minnesota, rated fourth (in 2004), first (2003) and second (2002) statistically. He favors a vertical passing game, with big-strike potential, and a power running attack.
Linehan, whose contract with Minnesota expires at the end of this month, flew to Miami on Tuesday and met Wednesday with Saban. The ardor with which the Dolphins were courting Linehan was reflected in the speed with which the Miami officials contacted the Vikings to gain permission to meet with him after Minnesota's loss Sunday at Philadelphia in a divisional-round playoff game.
He was scheduled to meet with Jacksonville coach Jack Del Rio on Thursday if things didn't work out in Miami.
The Jaguars do have a backup plan; they will interview current Saints offensive coordinator Mike McCarthy, whose contract expires in two weeks, on Friday. The Jags are expected to soon add former Dallas Cowboys head coach Dave Campo, defensive coordinator in Cleveland the last two seasons, as assistant head coach.
Most observers feel that Linehan, who had a successful career in the college ranks before joining Tice's staff, will someday be an NFL head coach.
Linehan, 41, came to Minnesota from the University of Louisville -- where he spent three seasons as the Cardinals' offensive
coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Playing for coach Dennis
Erickson, Linehan led Idaho to three NCAA Division I-AA playoff
appearances during his career from 1982 to 1986.
Information from ESPN.com senior NFL writer Len Pasquarelli and The Associated Press was used in this report.