Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh plans to return to NFL: report

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Jim Harbaugh reportedly intends to leave the University of Michigan and take the job of head coach of the Minnesota Vikings.

Multiple sources have confirmed that Harbaugh’s second interview with the Vikings scheduled for Wednesday February 2 is a formality and a precursor to becoming the franchise’s new head coach, TheWolverine.com editor-in-chief Chris Balas reports.

Balas reports that the former NFC champion plans to sign a deal during the interview.

Balas reports that Harbaugh was not at his desk at Schembechler Hall on the University of Michigan campus and sources have said TheWolverine.com that he did not address the team, but said “goodbyes” and “thanks” on Monday (January 31).

Saturday, December 29, a source said ESPNit is Pete Thamel that the Vikings requested permission from the University of Michigan to speak with Harbaugh.

Harbaugh spent four seasons (2011-14) coaching the San Francisco 49ers before returning to his alma mater in 2015 and has reportedly developed a strong relationship with the Vikings’ new general manager. Kwesi Adofo-Mensahwho spent seven seasons in San Francisco, including two during Harbaugh’s tenure.

A source said ESPNit is Courtney Cronin — which covers the Vikings — that Adofo-Mensah’s relationship with Harbaugh is a key driver of Minnesota’s interest in Harbaugh, who was the 2011 NFL Coach of the Year and led San Francisco to playoff appearances in each of his first three seasons, all of which culminated in NFC Championship Game appearances and a berth in Super Bowl XLVII in 2013.

Harbaugh had his best season at Michigan in 2021, finishing with an 11-2 record, a Big Ten title, beating rival Ohio State for the first time and earning a berth in the college football playoffs before losing to eventual national champion Georgia in the semi-finals.

The former NFL quarterback took a pay cut ahead of the 2021 season after the Wolverines finished 2-4 in a limited 2020 season.

Michigan has yet to formalize a new deal with Harbaugh, which is even more likely to be offered given reported interest from the Vikings.

Harbaugh has a 44-19-1 record as an NFL head coach and a 119-51 record as a college head coach, which includes Michigan (61-24 (41-17 Big Ten )), Stanford (29-21 (21-15 Pac-12)) and San Diego (29-6 (14-1)).

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