Pat Shurmur, the offensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings, has emerged as the leading candidate to fill the Giants’ vacant head coaching job, according to people with knowledge of the team’s deliberations. The Giants cannot offer Shurmur the job or finalize the terms of a contract with him until the Vikings, who play in Sunday’s N.F.C. Championship game, are no longer in the playoffs.
The NFL Network first reported on Monday that Shurmur had risen to the top of the Giants’ short list of candidates for head coach. Some of the most prominent names on the Giants’ wish list — Matt Patricia, the defensive coordinator of the New England Patriots, and Josh McDaniels, the Patriots’ offensive coordinator — are expected to take head coaching jobs elsewhere. According to news reports, Patricia will become the Detroit Lions’ coach while McDaniels is headed to the Indianapolis Colts.
Shurmur, 52, met with Giants officials on Jan. 6 in Minnesota. In his 19 years coaching in various positions in the N.F.L., Shurmur is known best for his development of quarterbacks. The Giants have an aging quarterback in Eli Manning, who had a subpar season in 2017, and they are expected to use the second overall pick of the upcoming N.F.L. draft to select one of the top available quarterbacks.
Shurmur’s résumé has been buttressed by his work this season with Vikings quarterback Case Keenum, who has gone from an N.F.L. journeyman to a surprising star for Minnesota. Keenum threw 22 touchdown passes and seven interceptions during the regular season, while the Vikings won 11 of the 14 games he started. In a divisional-round playoff game against the New Orleans Saints, Keenum threw a 61-yard game-winning touchdown pass, helping his team advance to the conference championship.
Shurmur has the head coaching experience that the Giants had said was a prerequisite for their position, although that experience isn’t exactly stellar. In his two seasons leading the Cleveland Browns beginning in 2011, they went 9-23.
But Shurmur’s long tenure in the N.F.L. could make him a stabilizing force for the Giants, who took an uncharacteristic leap of faith when they hired Ben McAdoo as their coach before the 2016 season. McAdoo had never been a head coach at any level and was fired late this season when the Giants’ record was 2-10.