First-year San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans has become a hot head coach commodity this cycle. That was taken to a whole new level during San Francisco’s comeback road win over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Divisional Playoffs.
Ryans led a 49ers defense that held Aaron Rodgers and the Packers to less than 60 total yards in the second half, enabling San Francisco to come back from a seven-point deficit with less than five minutes away to puch its ticket to the NFC Championship Game.
The backdrop here is interest in DeMeco Ryans from the Minnesota Vikings, among other NFL teams with current head-coach vacancies.
It now looks like Ryans, 37, could end up being the odds-on favorite to replace recently-fired head coach Mike Zimmer in Minneapolis.
Fresh off the division-rival Chicago Bears hiring Ryan Poles to be their new general manager, Minnesota is honing in on Cleveland Browns executive Kwesi Adofo-Mensah to take over that role. It’s led to widespread speculation that Adofo-Mensah could bring Ryans with hin to the Twin Cities.
DeMeco Ryans as the next Minnesota Vikings head coach?
There’s an obvious connection between Adofo-Mensah and Ryans. The former served as San Francisco’s Director of Football Research and Development from 2017-19 before heading to the Browns as their VP of Football Operations.
At the very sime time Adofo-Mensah was with the 49ers, Ryans started his coaching career as the team’s defensive quality coach before being promoted to inside linebackers coach. Remember, Ryans is in his first season as San Francisco’s defensive coordinator after replacing Robert Saleh — the latter of whom took the New York Jets head coach job ahead of the 2021 season.
These types of connections create interesting dynamics around the NFL world, and typically lead to new-found partnerships within other organizations.
As for Ryans, his ascension up the coaching rung has been something to behold. During the regular season, the former Pro Bowl linebacker led the 49ers’ defense to a No. 9 ranking in points allowed while finishing No. 3 in total yards allowed.
Any move on the Vikings’ part to officially hire Ryans couldn’t come until San Francisco is eliminated from the playoffs. It takes on the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday.