Bears interview Vikings play-caller Pat Shurmur, but they have competition

SHARE Bears interview Vikings play-caller Pat Shurmur, but they have competition
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Vikings quarterback Case Keenum speaks with offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. (Getty Images)

Bears general manager Ryan Pace woke up Friday morning in Minnesota and became the latest to interview one of the league’s hottest coaching candidates: Pat Shurmur.

The Vikings offensive coordinator met with the Bears a day after he spoke to the Lions about their vacant position. Two more teams also are interested in Shurmur.

The Lions have Matthew Stafford at quarterback — an upgrade over Mitch Trubisky — but are thought to be seeking a defense-first coach that might be able to pair with their current offensive coordinator, Jim Bob Cooter. Think of the Lions as the Bears in reverse. By interviewing defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, it has only fueled speculation that Pace would love to keep him and pair him with a play-calling head coach.

The Bears seem to be a better match for an offensive-minded head coach than the Cardinals, who watched quarterback Carson Palmer retire this week. If Shurmur believes in Trubisky, he could view the Bears’ job as more preferable to the Giants, who have an aging Eli Manning under center.

After interviewing Fangio, the Bears flew to Minnesota on Thursday to interview Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards. Edwards’ unit allowed the fewest points and yards per game this season, but Edwards didn’t call the plays, head coach Mike Zimmer did.

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While Thursday marked Edwards’ first head-coaching interview — and Wednesday was only the third Fangio has done in 31 years in the NFL — competition for Shurmur will be stiffer.

Shurmur was promoted from tight ends coach in the middle of last season to replace Norv Turner. The Vikings were excited about pairing him with Sam Bradford, who Shurmur coached when he was the offensive coordinator for the Rams in 2010 and the Eagles in 2015. Knee problems limited Bradford to two starts, though — the opener and Week 5 against the Bears — and a torn ACL ended outstanding rookie running back Dalvin Cook’s season after four games.

Backup quarterback Case Keenum won 11 of his 14 starts and averaged a career high 236.5 passing yards.

Since the Vikings have a first-round playoff bye, their coaches, per NFL rules, had to interview this week before turning their attention to next week’s home game.

Those interested in Shurmur will have to be patient, as the Vikings might be set to make a long playoff run. They could play the entirety of the postseason without leaving home. Win next week, and they’re an Eagles’ home loss away from hosting the NFC title game. Win that, and they’ll play in the Super Bowl at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Follow me on Twitter @patrickfinley.

Email: pfinley@suntimes.com

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