Bill O'Brien's name is again being mentioned for NFL coaching jobs.
Shortly before the Vikings took the field Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, a report surfaced that the team has approached the Penn State head coach about becoming Minnesota's coach.
CBSSports.com cited unnamed pro and college sources as saying both the Vikings and Houston Texans have approached O'Brien, who just completed his second season with the Nittany Lions. The Texans recently fired Gary Kubiak as coach, and Wade Phillips took over in an interim role.
Minnesota coach Leslie Frazier is under contract through next season, but the Vikings are 4-9-1 even after Sunday's upset victory over the Eagles.
O'Brien has coached under NCAA sanctions during his two years at Penn State, but still managed to compile a 15-9 overall record. The school was penalized after former assistant Jerry Sandusky was convicted of molesting children and the school was accused of covering some of it up. The Nittany Lions have not been allowed to go to a bowl game the past two seasons, and also can't go to one in 2014 and 2015.
O'Brien reportedly considered the Eagles' job last season before Chip Kelly got that position.
According to the CBSSports.com report by Jason La Canfora, O'Brien is ready to return to pro football, according to pro and college sources. La Canfora also said O'Brien could be a candidate for the Redskins job, where Mike Shanahan is reportedly on thin ice.
La Canfora said: "O'Brien struggled with the decision last year and ultimately felt he owed it to his players to stay at Happy Valley for a second season, but relations between him and the school frayed some. ... His buyout is less financially restrictive than in past years, and, furthermore, there could be litigation over his buyout as well, if the situation escalates, given the penalties the program faced."
O'Brien came to Penn State after serving as the offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots, where he worked with standout quarterback Tom Brady. That experience working with a top-notch quarterback, plus his work with Matt McGloin and Christian Hackenberg the last two seasons at PSU, make him an attractive option for NFL teams looking to develop a QB. Both the Vikings and Texans have quarterback issues to resolve, as do the Redskins.
O'Brien helped McGloin transform from a walk-on into an above-average college quarterback who is currently starting for the Oakland Raiders. O'Brien also helped Hackenberg produce a fine season as a true freshman starting QB for the Lions in 2013. Hackenberg was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year this past fall.
O'Brien's name has also been mentioned in several media reports as a possibility to replace Mack Brown at the University of Texas. Brown announced his resignation on Sunday. Kelly's named has also been mentioned for the Texas job.
-- Reach Steve Heiser at firstname.lastname@example.org.