According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien and Vanderbilt’s James Franklin have emerged as the top choices to replace Leslie Frazier in Minnesota.
Frazier, the embattled coach for the Minnesota Vikings, is 4-9-1 and in last place in the NFC North.
O’Brien, 44, is 15-9 in two seasons in Happy Valley after replacing long-time head coach, Joe Paterno. O’Brien served as offensive assistant for the New England Patriots in 2007, wide receivers coach in 2008, quarterbacks coach in 2009-10 and offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach in 2011.
Schefter also reported that the 2012 Big 10 Coach Of The Year has emerged as the leading candidate to replace current Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz.
Franklin, 41, is 23-15 in three seasons at Vanderbilt, and has helped revive lead the Commodores to back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in recent memory.
A former wide receivers coach for the Green Bay Packers in 2005, Franklin was the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Kansas State in 2006-07 and offensive coordinator and “coach-in-waiting” for the Maryland Terrapins from 2008-10 before coming to Vanderbilt in 2011.
Franklin has also emerged as a target of the the Houston Texans head coaching job.