It has been a pretty big ascension up the coaching ranks for former Pro Bowl linebacker DeMeco Ryans since his retirement following 2015 season.
Ryans joined Kyle Shanahan’s staff with the San Francisco 49ers as a defensive quality control coach in 2017. After one season in that role, he served as the team’s inside linebackers coach for three years before taking over as defensive coordinator in 2021 following the departure of Robert Saleh to become the New York Jets head coach.
It now looks like the 37-year-old Ryan is getting some serious play as a head coach candidate this cycle. According to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, he’s set to interview for the vacant Minnesota Vikings head coach job.
This shouldn’t be seen as a huge surprise. The 49ers’ defense has been elite in Ryans’ first season leading the unit. The Dallas Cowboys found that out first-hand in their ugly NFC Wild Card Playoff loss to San Francisco over the weekend.
DeMeco Ryans 49ers defensive rankings: 3rd in total yards, 9th in points, 7th against the run, sixth against the pass
DeMeco Ryans as a candidate for the Minnesota Vikings job
This report comes following the firing of longtime Vikings head coach Miker Zimmer, who is also of the defensive-minded variety.
It’s also a continuation of the Vikings casting a wide net in looking to replace Zimmer as well as recently-fired general manager Rick Spielman.
Minnesota has a ton of candidates it has shown interest in thus far this cycle.
- Raheem Morris, Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator
- Kevin O’Connell, Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator
- Jonathan Gannon, Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator
- Kellen Moore, Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator
- Dan Quinn, Dallas Cowboys, offensive coordinator
- Nathaniel Hackett, Green Bay Packers, offensive coordinator
- Todd Bowles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, defensive coordinator
- DeMeco Ryans, San Francisco 49ers, defensive coordinator
As you can see, Minnesota is not limiting its search to coaches with expertise on one side of the ball. By casting a wide net, it is doing everything possible to find that perfect fit.
A lot of this could very well depend on who the Vikings hire as their next general mananger. Among the names bandied about, Philadelphia Eagles VP of football operations Catherine Raiche has been talked up the most. She just recently interviewd for the job and has a built-in relationship with Gannon.
As for Ryans’ candidacy, it will be interesting to see if Minnesota puts in a request to interview 49ers assistant general manager Adam Peters for its GM vacancy. He’s seen as an up-and-coming candidate and could very well bring Ryans with him to Minneapolis.
A second-round pick of the Houston Texans back in 2006, Ryans turned in a stellar 10-year career as a linebacker. He earned two Pro Bowl trips in six seasons with Houston before playing his final four years as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Obviously, DeMeco Ryans has gained a ton of respect around the NFL in his short time as a coach. He’s now becoming a trendy topic this cycle.