Vinklarek is eighth man in

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:47 AM ET

A new name has quietly surfaced in the hunt for the Edmonton Eskimos' new head coach.

Ronnie Vinklarek will receive an interview today for the position.

The Esks' current offensive line coach, Vinklarek hasn't been linked to the bench boss position until now.

The Green and Gold's management team isn't speaking to the media during the search for a new head coach, but a CFL source in Eastern Canada leaked news of the Vinklarek interview to Sun Media.

Vinklarek becomes the eighth known candidate for the job, which opened up last week when Danny Maciocia stepped aside to become the full-time general manager and director of football operations.

With intriguing experience in the NFL before coming to Edmonton this year, Vinklarek brings a lot to the table.

An offensive line coach with the Buffalo Bills (2001-02), Vinklarek was part of the team that saw Drew Bledsoe pass for more than 4,000 yards and Travis Henry run for more than 1,400 yards.

The Eskimos need to establish a more balanced offensive attack in 2009, following the Bills' example.

But Vinklarek also has coaching experience on the other side of the ball.

At the turn of the decade, he was the special teams and linebackers coach for the Tennessee Titans in 2000 - a year when that team only lost three regular-season games.

Personable and never shy to take responsibility, Vinklarek told Sun Media this fall - before Maciocia stepped down - that he was interested in returning to Edmonton in 2009.

COACHING CAROUSEL: THE B.C. LIONS HAVE GRANTED PERMISSION FOR MACIOCIA TO SPEAK WITH MIKE BENEVIDES.

The Lions defensive co-ordinator and linebackers coach expected to talk to Edmonton's GM yesterday about the head coach opening.

Benevides has not worked with any current Eskimo assistant coaches before but is friends with Maciocia.

"I think there was a connection - our European immigrant background," said Benevides on that friendship.

Both Canadian natives, Benevides has also followed a somewhat similar path as Maciocia, because they were both volunteer coaches in the CFL to start.

"There was some kinship built from that process," continued Benevides.

Approachable and polite, the father of two young girls had an interview for the vacant Toronto head coach position last Friday.

However, he hasn't been notified of a second interview yet.

SHORT HIT: DOUG BERRY'S ODDS OF BEING THE NEXT HEAD COACH OF THE EDMONTON ESKIMOS SEEM TO GET SLIGHTLY LONGER EVERY DAY.

While Berry's name was initially on the Esks' list of candidates for the vacant position - and still could be - he hadn't spoken with Danny Maciocia about the job as of yesterday afternoon.


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