The Giants may not be getting their top choice for their next head coach, but Vikings coach Mike Zimmer believes they're getting one who will be "successful," and who has "earned the right" to be a head coach - if they end up hiring his offensive coordinator, Pat Shurmur.
Nothing is official yet, of course, but with sources saying it's "likely" that Shurmur will take over the Giants when the Vikings' season is over, Zimmer told reporters on a conference call on Wednesday that Shurmur will be a good one.
"I was able to compete against Pat a few times when he was the head coach in Cleveland and I always thought his teams did a good job," Zimmer said. "He's a smart guy. He has a good relationship with the players. He's done an outstanding job this year and I do believe he's earned the right."
Shurmur was the head coach of the Browns in 2011-12, but his teams only went 9-23 during those two seasons. He was hardly in a great situation, though, taking over a team during the NFL lockout, coaching through a change in ownership, and being stuck with Brandon Weeden and Colt McCoy as his primary quarterbacks.
In hindsight, nine wins in two years in Cleveland isn't a bad job at all.
The Giants were also impressed with his work as offensive coordinator in Minnesota this season, and his previous work as the offensive coordinator in Philadelphia in 2013-15. He's also been a well-regarded position coach, including a long stint with the Eagles from 1999-2008. In '99, he was the tight ends and offensive line coach while Doug Pederson, currently the Eagles head coach, was a quarterback on that team.
"He is smart," Pederson said on Monday. "He's obviously been a head coach in this league and been a coordinator in this league. He's done an outstanding job with Minnesota the last couple of weeks, and the last couple years. He understands defense, meaning he's putting his guys in positions to be successful, particularly that quarterback."
Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, who had a career year with Shurmur as his offensive coordinator in 2013, called him "a tremendous coach," too.
That's why Shurmur has been a bit of a hot coaching candidate during this cycle, including in Arizona where a source said he was one of the Cardinals top choices. The Vikings are clearly bracing for him to get a job somewhere, and sources say his top choice will be the Giants.
"If he gets the opportunity," Zimmer said, "I think he'll be successful."