Harbaugh Returning To Michigan, Vikings 'Zeroing In' Elsewhere: Report
By Jason Hall
February 3, 2022
Jim Harbaugh has reportedly informed University of Michigan officials that he intends to return to the school for the 2022 season, despite interviewing with the Minnesota Vikings on Wednesday (February 2), ESPN's Adam Schefter reports.
"Jim Harbaugh called Michigan to inform the school that, despite interviewing with the Vikings today, he will be returning to school for the 2022 season, sources tell ESPN. Michigan was, in the words of one source, 'elated' to get Harbaugh’s decision," Schefter tweeted Wednesday evening.
The Vikings are now reportedly "zeroing in" on Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell as their next head coach, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero.
Jim Harbaugh called Michigan to inform the school that, despite interviewing with the Vikings today, he will be returning to school for the 2022 season, sources tell ESPN. Michigan was, in the words of one source, “elated” to get Harbaugh’s decision.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 3, 2022
Pelissero confirmed the Vikings concluded their interview with Harbaugh and then informed New York Giants defensive coordinator Patrick Graham and Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris that they were eliminated from consideration.
Pelissero said the Vikings can't finalize a deal with O'Connell until after his Super Bowl obligations with the Rams.
The #Vikings are zeroing in on #Rams OC Kevin O’Connell as their head coach, sources tell me and @RapSheet. The deal can’t be finalized until after the Super Bowl.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) February 3, 2022
The #Vikings wrapped up an interview this afternoon with Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, then informed fellow finalists Patrick Graham and Raheem Morris they’re out. O’Connell is Minnesota’s man. https://t.co/rc60rsSk8W— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) February 3, 2022
On Tuesday (February 1), TheWolverine.com senior editor Chris Balas reported Harbaugh was planning to leave his alma matter to accept the head coaching position with the Vikings after Wednesday's scheduled interview.
On Saturday (December 29), a source told ESPN's Pete Thamel that the Vikings have requested permission from the University of Michigan to speak with Harbaugh.
Harbaugh spent four seasons (2011-14) coaching the San Francisco 49ers before returning to his alma mater in 2015 and is reported to have developed a strong relationship with new Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, who spent seven seasons in San Francisco, including two during Harbaugh's tenure.
A source told ESPN's Courtney Cronin -- who covers the Vikings -- that the relationship between Adofo-Mensah and Harbaugh is a primary driver in Minnesota's interest in Harbaugh, who was the 2011 NFL Coach of the Year and led San Francisco to playoff appearances during each of his first three seasons, all of which resulted in NFC Championship Game appearances and a Super Bowl XLVII berth in 2013.
Harbaugh enjoyed his best season at Michigan in 2021, finishing with an 11-2 record, a Big Ten title, defeating arch rival Ohio State for the first time and earning a College Football Playoff berth before losing to eventual national champion Georgia in the semifinal.
The former NFL quarterback took a pay cut ahead of the 2021 season after the Wolverines finished with a 2-4 during a limited 2020 season.
Michigan has yet to formalize a new agreement with Harbaugh, which is even more likely to be offered given the Vikings' reported interest.
Harbaugh has a 44-19-1 record as an NFL head coach and a 119-51 record as a collegiate head coach, which includes Michigan (61-24 (41-17 Big Ten)), Stanford (29-21 (21-15 Pac-12)) and San Diego (29-6 (14-1)).