Being a former Bears quarterback and target for the Vikings’ head coaching vacancy makes Jim Harbaugh’s looming return to the NFL hit different.
So much so, that the Bears not having a public meeting with Harbaugh struck a chord with some. And I get it. Harbaugh has been a solid coach at every level. His hire would’ve come with instant credibility. And it would’ve bought some goodwill among a segment of fans who need a big-name hire for that purpose. Also, to have an exhaustive search and not even reach out to Harbaugh would be lunacy. Right? A high-profile coach with long-standing ties to the organization should’ve been an easy call to make. Nevertheless, the Bears are moving forward with Matt Eberflus running the show as the team’s head coach.
And while I’m not sure if the following will change the feelings of people who are upset over the Harbaugh non-hire, I couldn’t help but share it. Because long before the Vikings came on the radar as a possible suitor, Hall of Fame receiver Cris Carter believes there was another team that could’ve had him.
“I have a source who tells me that there was a conversation between him and the Chicago Bears,” Carter said on Wednesday’s episode of NFL Network’s Good Morning Football. “And he was looking to go back to the Bears, and looking for a Jon Gruden type deal. That was not available, so they moved on.”
You can watch the entire clip below for more Harbaugh chatter:
— Good Morning Football (@gmfb) February 2, 2022
It is worth noting that Jeff Hughes of Da Bears Blog made a previous note on Jan. 30 that Harbaugh was looking for something in the range of $100 million for a return to the Bears. And if you’ll recall, that is what Jon Gruden was given by the Raiders in his return to the game in 2018. On top of that, Gruden was given full control as the highest-ranking football guy in the building. Yes, even above his general manager Mike Mayock. So now we’ve got multiple sources referencing Harbaugh, the Bears, and a Grudenesque deal. That feels noteworthy.
As for the Harbaugh-Vikings partnership, it isn’t locked in just yet:
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 2, 2022
NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport reports Harbaugh-to-the-Vikings isn’t a done deal. But the way he frames his reporting makes it seem like it is coming down the pipeline once the formality of other interviews get finalized. And considering how head coach hiring process will be scrutinized in the wake of allegations put down by former Dolphins coach Brian Flores, I imagine the Vikings will tread somewhat cautiously here. Almost as if to make it know that they are complying to the letter of the law with regards to the Rooney Rule.
In the end, we’ll see where this goes. After all, we’ve seen the Vikings cough up some “done deals” in the past.