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Sleeping with the enemy

Rhodes may take over Vikings defense for departed Fazio

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Posted: Friday January 21, 2000 04:53 PM

  Ray Rhodes Ray Rhodes is rumored to have already interviewed for the defensive coordinator position in Minnesota. Brian Bahr/Allsport

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Foge Fazio is out, and Ray Rhodes may be in.

After four years as defensive coordinator, Fazio has resigned as Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator to become linebackers coach for the Washington Redskins.

Former Oakland Raiders defensive coordinator Willie Shaw, the Vikings' reported top choice to replace Fazio, is not interested in the job, according to published reports today.

Shaw, according to the Star Tribune, is holding out hope that he could land the head coaching position in either New England, Dallas or the New York Jets.

Meanwhile, Rhodes, fired as head coach of the Green Bay Packers after one 8-8 season, is rumored to have met with Vikings coach Dennis Green Thursday night about Fazio's job, KARE-TV reported. The station reported that Rhodes said he is interested in the job, and that the Vikings are no longer interested in Shaw.

Rhodes was supposedly Washington's choice as its next defensive coordinator.

But Rhodes has ties to Green and would have at least two chances next season to avenge his abrupt dismissal from Green Bay if with the Vikings.

Although a difficult decision to make, Fazio said Thursday night that he made it, in part, to be closer to his ailing mother who lives in Pittsburgh.

"It's just time, I guess, to move on," Fazio said. "I'm no young spring chicken anymore, and she's 91 years old. She's on dialysis and that'll give me an excellent opportunity to spend a lot more quality time with her."

Fazio, 60, joined the Vikings as inside linebackers coach in 1995. Before that, he worked four seasons as linebackers coach with the New York Jets.

Fazio, described as upset after Green fired inside linebackers coach Tom Olivadotti without telling him first, said he had an amicable discussion with Green Thursday morning and leaves with no hard feelings.

"I've had five great years with the Vikings. I hated to leave," he told the Star Tribune. "I had a nice talk with Denny this morning, and Denny told me how much he enjoyed our relationship, and that he wasn't going to hold me up because this was a great opportunity for me."

The Vikings finished 27th in total defense for the season.

Green's agent, Ray Anderson, said Thursday that Green did not oppose Fazio's resignation.

"That's just not his makeup," Anderson said. "That would be out of character for Denny. You're not dealing with the Raiders' mentality. You're dealing with someone who knows about fairness because he's always had to battle to get fairness himself."

The Vikings made no announcement of the move.


 
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