A few assorted items to close out this Monday evening:
- The union between the Vikings and new head coach Mike Zimmer almost didn’t happen, writes Mike Garafolo of FoxSports.com. Having missed out on the Titans job, Zimmer felt as though his opportunity for a head coaching job might never come. “I almost didn’t go (on the second interview with Minnesota), yeah. I was so disappointed,” said Zimmer. “It was like, ‘Why even do this?’ It was to that point. I figured I was getting too old. I thought, ‘Forget this.'” Zimmer had been a successful defensive coordinator for the past 14 seasons.
- The 49ers are creating more cap space to make room for a Colin Kaepernick extension, according to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. San Francisco got $6.6MM in relief when Carlos Rogers‘ contract (a post-June 1 designation) was cleared off the books, and received another $2.6MM after NaVorro Bowman converted some of his base salary into a signing bonus.
- Keshawn Martin will face competition for the Texans’ returner job, per David Barron of the Houston Chronicle. “There are many candidates for those jobs,” said head coach Bill O’Brien. “Preseason is when we really have to get a true evaluation of the guys who are back there and who is going to return punts, who are going to be the kickoff return guys, and who will be the emergency guys if something happens to the starters.”
- New Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson thinks that right tackle Andre Smith is entering the upcoming season with a new fire, writes Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com. “In my opinion, this Andre Smith is a different Andre Smith than the one I’ve ever seen,” said Jackson. “He’s a more focused, agile, hungry guy after something.” Pro Football Focus rated Smith as the 20th-best offensive tackle in the NFL last season (subscription required).
- It might just be the usual preseason platitudes, but Raiders coach Dennis Allen claims there is no official depth chart as of yet, and states he is especially looking forward to the running back competition between Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew. “We’re going to put the best players on the field, and the guys that give us the best opportunity to win, whoever that may be,” said Allen. “I do know this: I do know throughout the course of a 16-game season, you’re going to need everybody. I think it’s great when you have multiple players that you feel confident that they can come in and do the job. We’ll let the competition dictate who plays and how much they play. It’s a good feeling to know that you’ve got some qualified people in the running back room that can carry the loads for you.”