5 best defensive coordinators 49ers can bring in to replace Steve Wilks

Kyle Shanahan said he'll consider both external and internal candidates to replace recently fired defensive coordinator Steve Wilks.

San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks
San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages
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Option No. 3: Mike Pettine (Vikings senior defensive assistant)

Kyle Shanahan and current Minnesota Vikings defensive assistant Mike Pettine have a history together, stemming from their time with the Cleveland Browns in 2014.

While that tenure didn't work out for either coach, and Pettine's subsequent journeys haven't resulted in any lengthy staying power, the relationship between him and Shanahan could come into play here.

Pettine does have coordinator experience, too, and he'd fit the mold of being a front-seven guy, his prior experience stemming from being a linebackers specialist. Plus, considering he might only get one more reasonable shot at being a head coach after what went down in Cleveland, using the 49ers' job as a pipeline could be a wise move.

Granted, Pettine has had some whiffs as a coordinator, including some questionable decisions during his Green Bay Packers tenure between 2018 and 2020.

But, if the Niners see those as a learning experience, Pettine might fit the bill.