Source: Minnesota Vikings reach out to Jim Harbaugh about head-coach vacancy

The Minnesota Vikings reached out to the University of Michigan and received permission to speak to Jim Harbaugh about their open head-coach job, a source told ESPN's Courtney Cronin.

Though a formal interview has yet to take place, the Vikings had conversations with Harbaugh on Saturday afternoon, with the sides gauging interest in each other, the source said.

Harbaugh has emerged as a candidate in part because of a strong relationship with new Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, with whom Harbaugh overlapped while he was head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. Adofo-Mensah was in San Francisco's front office in research and development and worked with Harbaugh in 2013 and 2014.

A source told Cronin that the relationship between Adofo-Mensah and Harbaugh is one of the primary drivers of the franchise's interest in Harbaugh.

Harbaugh is coming off a rejuvenating season at Michigan after going 2-4 in 2020. Last season, Michigan went 11-2, won the Big Ten title after authoritatively beating nemesis Ohio State and earned a spot in the College Football Playoff.

Harbaugh took a pay cut after the 2-4 campaign, as his base salary decreased from $8 million annually to $4 million. Michigan has yet to formalize any type of new agreement with Harbaugh after the rebound in 2021.

Harbaugh spent four years as the head coach of the 49ers. He went 44-19-1, and he holds the fifth-best winning percentage in NFL history, ahead of any active coach in the league. Harbaugh led San Francisco to an appearance in Super XLVII, but was fired after going 8-8 in 2014.