The Minnesota Vikings' remarkable season came to an end on Sunday. And now the Giants search for a new head coach is about to end, too.
With the Vikings' 38-7 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Sunday's NFC championship game, Pat Shurmur, their offensive coordinator, officially became available. And as has been reported for more than a week, Shurmur is expected to be offered a job as the new head coach of the Giants.
Shurmur was planning to fly back to Minneapolis with the Vikings on Sunday night so he could participate in exit interviews with his players on Monday, according to a source. The plan was still for him to meet for a second time with the Giants, most likely on Tuesday. He is expected to sign a deal with the Giants then.
Shurmur, 52, has emerged over the last week as the "likely" new Giants coach, after a three-week search that saw the Giants interview six candidates. He emerged as one of three finalists after the initial interviews, along with Patriots coordinators Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia. But when both of them signaled their intention to take other jobs -- Patricia with Detroit and McDaniels with Indianapolis -- Shurmur became the Giants' main target.
He interviewed with Giants co-owner John Mara, GM Dave Gettleman and assistant GM Kevin Abrams back on Jan. 6. The Giants said all along that co-owner Steve Tisch would also meet with the finalists later in the process, though it's not clear if that will happen before Shurmur is officially offered the job.
There likely won't be much of a delay on his hiring, though, because the Senior Bowl practices begin this week in Mobile, Alabama, and both Shurmur and Gettleman will want to get there as soon as possible.
Shurmur did not begin this process as the favorite to land the Giants job, but he was very impressive in his interview, according to a team source. The only concern with Shurmur seemed to be about whether he had the personality or desire to handle coaching in New York, which was an issue since he was also considered a front-runner in Arizona.
When Shurmur made it clear he'd accept the Giants' job over the Cardinals', the Giants job became essentially his.
He also became the top candidate because of the work he's done with quarterbacks throughout his career, including current Vikings quarterback Case Keenum, who had a stellar season, and Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, who had a career year when Shurmur was the offensive coordinator in Philadelphia in 2013. The Giants' hope is that Shurmur can fix whatever is wrong with Eli Manning, whom multiple sources said will be the Giants starting quarterback in 2018.
Shurmur also is expected to be a big asset for the Giants as they begin to groom Manning's eventual replacement -- whether that's his current backup, Davis Webb, or a quarterback they select with the No. 2 pick in the NFL Draft.
Another reason Shurmur will likely sign on quickly and hustle to Mobile is that he needs to quickly assemble a new staff. He reportedly is considering former Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio as his defensive coordinator. He also has had a long relationship with Steve Spagnuolo, the Giants' former defensive coordinator and interim head coach. It's possible he could keep Spagnuolo, though that might be a tough sell to Giants fans.
Shurmur also has reportedly agreed to bring Thomas McGaughey in as his special teams coordinator. McGaughey, a former Giants assistant coach, was the assistant special teams coach in Carolina when Gettleman was the GM of the Panthers.
This will be the second go-round for Shurmur as a head coach. He went 9-23 as a head coach for the Cleveland Browns in 2011 and 2012. Of course, the Browns haven't had a winning season in the last 10, as they've cycled through six head coaches. Shurmur had a particularly difficult tenure, taking over the team during the NFL lockout and getting fired shortly after the franchise was sold.
Mara, though, made it clear that he wanted to hire a coach with experience -- preferably head coaching experience -- after he watched his franchise crumble in the second season under first-time head coach Ben McAdoo. He's also often said he likes coaches that come to the Giants with something to prove. And Shurmur clearly does.