Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh continues to be Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh. For how long will that continue?
For the first time since taking the job at Ann Arbor in 2015, Harbaugh is entertaining a return to the NFL. The Vikings interviewed him on Saturday, by Zoom. The Minnesota interest has kicked up rumors and reports of the Dolphins potentially getting involved.
As best we can tell, the possibility of Miami making a run at Harbaugh remains speculative, for now. Team owner Stephen Ross has said he won’t be the one to take Harbaugh from Michigan; Ross is a major UM benefactor. But if Harbaugh is leaving anyway, that potentially could change things.
It remains to be seen whether he’ll get the chance to leave for the Vikings. Minnesota likely is concerned that Harbaugh will be too hard on players, too similar to former coach Mike Zimmer in that regard. But Jim Harbaugh and Ravens coach John Harbaugh are very similar when it comes to their intensity. If a team wants the coaching acumen, the team also needs to accept the rest of the package. And the team needs to be willing and able to work with any idiosyncrasies that could make it difficult, at times, to coexist with an intense and competitive coach.
Upon firing Zimmer and G.M. Rick Spielman three weeks ago, ownership said it wants to compete for championships. During his first three years with the 49ers, Harbaugh did. By 2014, things had gone sufficiently sideways to result in the 49ers nearly trading Harbaugh to the Browns.
So what happened, and whose fault was it? It will be for the Vikings to get to the bottom of that. And it will be for the Vikings to give proper credence, or not, to the potentially self-serving accounts of former San Francisco colleagues who may not want to see him handle unfinished business elsewhere.