Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Bill O’Brien used to be a respected offensive coordinator in the league while with the New England Patriots, and he’s only become even more respected in league circles due to his success in the college ranks at Penn State. He’s done an excellent job of instilling credibility in Happy Valley following the Sandusky scandal, and he’s done an even better job of recruiting and evaluating talent amidst severe sanctions.
Last year, O’Brien came pretty close to taking the Philadelphia Eagles coaching job before deciding to stay another year, as he made a commitment to PSU. But after another year, CBS Sports’s Jason La Canfora reports that O’Brien’s commitment to the school has waned for a variety of reasons.
Per sources in the pro and college ranks close to La Canfora, the Houston Texans and Minnesota Vikings have already reached out to Bill O’Brien, and it’s incredibly interesting to hear that the Vikings are showing interest. The Texans already fired Gary Kubiak and will be looking at just about everyone in an effort to fill that vacancy, but the Vikings still have a head coach under contract in Leslie Frazier, and he isn’t in lame-duck mode like Mike Shanahan. However, Frazier is definitely on the hot seat, and it would honestly be a surprise for him to keep his job. It’s not a surprise that the Vikings are showing interest in O’Brien, but it is extremely interesting. He looks like a solid hire for the Vikings on paper, so it’s good that they have reached out.
As for the Washington Redskins, La Canfora writes that O’Brien “could end up” being a candidate in their head coaching search once Shanahan is fired (it’s a matter of “when”, not “if” at this point).