Childress considering Bucs' Tomlin to replace Cottrell

Updated: January 9, 2006, 9:03 PM ET news services

MINNEAPOLIS -- Newly hired Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress fired defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell and is considering Tampa Bay assistant Mike Tomlin for the job.

Cottrell, who helped turn the Vikings' weakest link into a strength over the second half of last season, was interviewed for the head coaching job before the Vikings hired Childress.

Childress has declined to discuss specific candidates, but said he already had a staff in mind when he was hired to replace the fired Mike Tice late last week, and Bucs coach Jon Gruden confirmed Minnesota's interest in Tomlin on Monday.

"I'm optimistic at this point that Mike will be the defensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings," agent Brian Levy told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "It's just a matter of him getting up there and getting a chance to meet with the owner. Other than that, I don't think it would be hard to have the deal done in place by [Tuesday]."

Tomlin, 33, has been the defensive backs coach in Tampa since 2001. Cottrell was fired Sunday.

Vikings ownership, including brothers Zygi and Mark Wilf, moved quickly to hire Childress away from the Philadelphia Eagles, hoping that it would give him a head start on the race for the best available assistants.

Seven other teams are still looking for head coaches after Kansas City hired Herman Edwards away from the New York Jets on Monday.

"I think it is great to be the first one out of the box and I think again that is a credit to the Wilfs because you have to staff that team," Childress said. "We get a first swing at the guys that we want to be able to go after."

Childress has plenty of work to do. He reportedly will not retain receivers coach Wes Chandler, running backs coach Dean Dalton, quarterbacks coach Rich Olson, assistant defensive line and special teams coach Jim Panagos, assistant secondary coach Kevin Ross, tight ends coach John Tice or special teams coach Rusty Tillman.

Childress also needs an offensive coordinator and offensive line coach after Steve Loney, who held both positions, decided to take an offensive line coach job with Arizona.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.