Jim Harbaugh to interview with Vikings on National Signing Day
Michigan football head coach Jim Harbaugh is flying to Minnesota on Wednesday to interview for its vacant head coaching position. The news was first reported by NFL Network's Tom Pelissero.
Including Harbaugh as one of its four finalists, the Vikings will interview three other candidates: Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell, Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, and Giants defensive coordinator Patrick Graham.
Harbaugh's contract negotiations have been Ann Arbor's best-kept secret following Michigan's loss in the College Football Playoff semifinal. After a pay cut demoted the seventh-year head coach from the highest-paid coach in the Big Ten to the eight-highest, he followed it up with the program's first conference championship since 2004 prompting a deserved raise in his deal.
The Maize & Blue Review has reported that Michigan has an offer on the table, including a host of improvements to numerous factors outside of just the salary. Despite that offer sheet being there for weeks now, the dotted line remains blank and Harbaugh is expressing interest in the NFL.
This puts a serious twist on a situation that's been nothing but speculation at this point. Harbaugh's circle is as close to the vest as any in sports. For the first time publicly, though, we know the U-M head coach is at the very least exploring other options.
As far as recruiting goes, the long-winded rumors of Harbaugh's interest in leaving Ann Arbor have been treated as hearsay up to this point. Now, it's perceived to definitively impact recruiting given the interview taking place on National Signing Day.
Strangely enough, Michigan might not sign a single prospect on National Signing Day. It's expecting to lose Kevonte Henry and strike out on Andrew Paul while it awaits a March decision from Josh Conerly. Regardless, the timing and the principle certainly don't help the situation.
With the NFL coaching carousel nearing its end, Michigan is hoping the situation is wrapped up, for better or for worse, by next week.
The Vikings are the only franchise officially involved. That being said, Miami is perceived to be a potential suitor. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is a well-known top donor and alumnus of the University. He made it public earlier this month that he wouldn't take Harbaugh away from Michigan, however, if Harbaugh is making it clear he's interested in a return to the league then Ross may change his stance.
The Raiders hired Josh McDaniels and the Dolphins' interest, though speculated, isn't official. The Jaguars, Saints, and Texans jobs remain open but there have been no connections reported.
Meanwhile, sources told TMBR that Harbaugh was in the building, in the weight room, and business as usual on Monday. The staff will get a week-long break from the end of National Signing Day to the following Wednesday. This is an annual occurrence but the timing adds fuel to the fire.
Join us on the Wolverine Den for updates regarding the Harbaugh situation and more.
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