If Wilf Picks Cottrell As Successor, Then Fowler Has Serious Input On Team Hires

By Gregory Moore
Updated: January 4, 2006

SAN ANTONIO — The Minnesota Vikings have canned Mike Tice as their head coach and rumors are speculating that the top candidate for the position is the team’s defensive coordinator, Ted Cottrell. If majority Zigi Wilf makes the decision to go with Cottrell, I would venture to say that maybe minority owner Reggie Fowler had some major input on that decision.

Many people will think that Fowler is just a showpiece in the Vikings organization but I don’t think that is the case. Lest us not forget that Fowler was pretty darn close to being the majority owner and that Wilf was in the minority role during initial buying negotiations in 2004. The fact that Fowler simply flip-flopped position in the ownership group should be more of a testament to his commitment wanting to be in the NFL rather than a failure. Yet many people don’t see it as such and that’s a shame. Fowler is a businessman and so is Wilf. People who make millions of dollars aren’t as petty as some of the naysayers who tried to disprove Fowler’s worth in the deal. So it would be a major testament of Fowler’s influence to his business partner if he is able to persuade Wilf to hire from within with Cottrell.

Another reason why I think that Fowler would be instrumental is that he does understand football at this level. Whether he was a former player or not really isn’t at issue here. Wilf needs to have somebody in the ownership that understands the trends of this league. Right now one of the hottest trends is to get more minority head coaches in the league and that’s a very good reason for why this team needs to make such a hiring move.

Of course we must not overlook the process of interviewing minorities in the NFL either. There is a process in place and Wilf will need to make sure that he, Fowler and others adhere to that practice. But I believe that Wilf is very fair about his hiring practices here. I firmly believe that he and the ownership group will listen to each other, interview several minority candidates in the process and include Cottrell in that process. Hopefully when all of that is said and done, Wilf will promote Cottrell to the position and allow him to hire his assistants that he feels comfortable with. If this does happen over the next few months, we have to look at the role that Fowler may have played in this process. If Cottrell is hired, then folks need to give Fowler credit for being not just a figurehead in an ownership group, but being an active member in a group that is truly about diversity and having qualified managers in place. That would seem to fit the mold that Wilf is trying to fashion, even after Tice’s firing.

Clarrett’s arrest is surprising. As much as many have written about Maurice Clarrett and his trials and tribulations, many people were surprised that the former Ohio State Buckeye had warrants out for his arrest on armed robbery. Yes even this writer was shocked by the events that were unfolding.

To say that Clarrett has made mistakes is an understatement. I honestly believe that what Clarrett and his advisors have done is not to adhere to the warning signs that so many were showing them. Financially Clarrett should have taken the $400,000 that the Denver Broncos wanted to give him because it was guaranteed money. Secondly after he had lost his court battle to the NFL, he should have been working out to prove himself. Finally his advisors should have been preparing him for the hard times of ‘proving’ himself to the league.

But that is neither here nor there now. Hopefully this is a big mistake and that Clarrett is not involved. This young man deserves a chance at success in life.