Vikings interview 2 GM candidates, ex-assistant Gannon for coaching job

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The Vikings' search group has met with all eight known candidates for general manager after interviewing Patriots consultant Eliot Wolf and Browns vice president of player personnel Glenn Cook on Thursday.

They previously interviewed the Chiefs' Ryan Poles, the Eagles' Brandon Brown and Catherine Raiche, the Browns' Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, the Buccaneers' John Spytek and the Titans' Monti Ossenfort.

Follow-up discussions figure to be in person after a virtual first round, and they can begin around the playoff schedule. The Vikings are considering at least three candidates from playoff teams in Poles, Spytek and Ossenfort.

The Giants hosted three candidates, all from playoff teams, including Poles, for in-person second interviews this week at their New Jersey headquarters. The Bears interviewed Wolf on Tuesday and Cook last week for their GM opening.

Wolf, 39, just wrapped up his second season as a personnel consultant for New England, his third stop after a 14-year run as a Packers assistant in pro scouting. He's the son of former Green Bay General Manager Ron Wolf, a Pro Football Hall of Famer. Eliot Wolf left Green Bay after interviewing to replace Ted Thompson in 2018, when the team promoted Brian Gutekunst.

Cook, 37, also comes from a pro scouting background. He finished his second year as Browns vice president of player personnel after four years as Cleveland's assistant director of pro scouting from 2016-2019. He assessed Packers opponents and NFL free agents as a pro scout from 2012-2015. Cook's first NFL job came as a Colts scouting assistant in 2011.

Cook was hired by former Browns General Manager Sashi Brown, but he was promoted to a leading voice in Cleveland's personnel department under GM Andrew Berry. The Browns' recent relevance has been due, in part, to better decisions in acquiring veteran talent, from signing center JC Tretter in 2017 free agency to the 2018 trade for receiver Jarvis Landry.

Wolf spent two years as the Browns' assistant general manager in 2018-2019. He had a brief stop with the Seahawks, consulting for Seattle's GM and fellow former Packers personnel man John Schneider for the 2020 draft, before joining the Patriots. Bouncing around between the Browns and Seahawks after a decade-plus in Green Bay was cited as a reason why Wolf brought value to Bill Belichick's Patriots.

"Two organizations in the last couple years," Belichick said in 2020. "A fairly recent background of other philosophies, other ways of doing things. Certainly, he's been able to help me in terms of, 'Take a look at this, here's the way we did this.' It might be something we tried and we don't want to do it that way [or] it might be something that's, 'No, I hadn't really looked at it that way, that's a pretty good idea.' It's good to generate new ideas like that."

Also on Thursday, the Vikings spoke with Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon — an assistant defensive backs coach for the Vikings from 2014-2017 — for the head coaching job. On Wednesday, they interviewed Cowboys coordinators Dan Quinn and Kellen Moore.

The new general manager will have input in the head coaching hire, according to co-owner Mark Wilf, but the search team continued preliminary work on candidates with Gannon, who was a well-regarded assistant with the Vikings. He's drawing interest around the league, having already spoken with the Texans and Broncos about their openings.

In his first year as coordinator, Gannon's Eagles defense ranked 10th in yardage allowed (328.8/game) and 18th in points allowed (22.6). Philadelphia (9-8) earned the NFC's seventh seed but lost to the Buccaneers, 31-15, in the NFC's wild-card playoff round.

The Vikings, for their coaching post, have also requested to talk with Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans and Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell. Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett was the first to interview over videoconferencing on Sunday.