NFL

Kellen Moore interest tracker: Vikings seek interview as more opportunities arise for Cowboys coordinator

For the second consecutive season, Kellen Moore finds himself at topic of conversation around the NFL, as teams who are now in need of a new head coach begin identifying candidates for their respective 2022 reboot. Like fellow Dallas Cowboys coordinator Dan Quinn — who handles the defensive duties in North Texas while Moore steers the offense — he isn’t walking into the offseason with the level of shine he’d like, after being a key reason the Cowboys were bounced at home by the San Francisco 49ers on NFL Super Wild Card Weekend. Most general managers around the league are looking at the full body of work though, and not simply what took place in a single game, but Moore has his work cut out for him in that regard as well, unlike Quinn.

That said, Moore remains a highly-coveted football mind in both Dallas and abroad, which explains why the number of teams seeking to speak with him is growing so quickly. One year ago, his most notable interview (and first one ever) for a head coaching opportunity in the NFL was with the Philadelphia Eagles — one that was conducted before he went on to sign a multi-year extension to remain with the Cowboys (also declining an opportunity to be the head coach of his beloved Boise State alma mater).

Now, there are at least a handful of teams with Moore on their radar and four have already sought interviews. What makes things that much more intriguing is in how he’s also in direct competition with Quinn in this year’s head coaching cycle — as the Cowboys work through the possibility of losing either one or both of their coordinators, having already confirmed Mike McCarthy will remain their head coach next season.

So, where might Moore land? Here are the teams attempting to court him:

Status: Interview conducted

In the wake of firing Vic Fangio, the frontrunner to take the role is Quinn, but that presents a glaring question regarding the team’s blatant lack of offensive prowess that helped tank their 2021 season. There’s no argument that Quinn is both a leader of men and easily one of the best defensive minds in all of football, and tying him to a defense as stout as the one in Denver would make them Super Bowl-worthy on that side of the ball. But what of the offense? This is where Moore becomes more attractive — after having often schemed the Cowboys to the No. 1 seat in several categories before seeing a downturn on the back end of the 2021 season. If Moore is given a true franchise quarterback in Denver (ahem, draft one), he might be the better option considering, as mentioned, the Denver defense is already being locked and loaded. 

Status: Interview conducted

This one caused quite a stir, and not because of the who (well at least not entirely), but because of the when. Moore made it known he wouldn’t interview with the Jaguars during the final week of the regular season because he was “focused on Philly” but, one day later, he was on a Zoom call interviewing with the Jacksonville brass. It was an optics gaffe for Moore that didn’t impact what happened next, namely the dismantling of the Eagles in Week 18, and that performance only made him that much more attractive in the head coach pageant. And considering how desperate the Jaguars are to fix things, it’s doubtful they care much about the poor performance by the Cowboys offense in the playoff loss to the 49ers, and if Moore is one of the few candidates willing to work with general manager Trent Baalke, the Jaguars should be all over him after being stonewalled initially by Dan Quinn. 

Status: Request for interview

Much like the Broncos, Jaguars and Dolphins (below) the Vikings join the mix as one who want to speak to both Quinn and Moore, and they’ll get their shot at both after firing longtime head coach Mike Zimmer. There’s a similarity between the Broncos and Vikings that sticks out like a sore thumb, in that they both fired defensive-minded head coaches. Here’s where Moore has the aforementioned edge, and particularly because it doesn’t appear the team will move on from Kirk Cousins, which means there’s already a franchise quarterback installed for him to hit the ground running with. Add in Dalvin Cook, Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson as offensive weapons and Moore would inherit an offense that’s certainly not lacking for weaponry. Could he return the defense to glory, though? That’s a question that the Vikings must consider in speaking with him.

Status: Request for interview

It’s still difficult to fathom why the Dolphins would move on from Brian Flores, but they have and so now enters Moore as a candidate for the role of head coach in South Florida. On the defensive side of the ball, there’s work to be done, but they have a strong foundation to build upon that Flores was working to refine — allowing only 21.9 points per game in 2021 (16th in NFL). Offensively, however, they need to see Tua Tagovailoa take the next step, after having made strides under Flores. They’ve already reportedly committed to Tagovailoa being the starter in 2022, so there are currently no question marks on who Moore would be crafted at quarterback, and the presence of Jalen Waddle makes for a nice opening act that can be built upon in free agency and the draft. Add to this the pleasantry of the weather in Miami, and it’s a much easier sell than what Denver and Minnesota offer in that regard.



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