Mike Pettine has long understood the problem: a lack of diversity among NFL coaches. This spring, he was inspired to do something about it.

Pettine, in his first season as the Minnesota Vikings' assistant head coach, organized a three-day coaching diversity summit this week at team headquarters, a program designed to increase the diverse candidate pool for entry-level NFL jobs. Eleven men and one woman -- Roseanna Smith, an assistant coach at Oberlin College -- will spend their time participating in mock interviews, learning the NFL's culture, listening in on coaching meetings and working an OTA practice.

Pettine initially hoped to implement the initiative when he was the Green Bay Packers' defensive coordinator in 2020, but it was scuttled after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. "The real basic premise of the program is really to feed the candidate pool for the NFL from the bottom up," Pettine said.

A disappointing hiring cycle this past winter left the league with just five minority head coaches, an outcome that commissioner Roger Goodell acknowledged "fell short" of league goals. Among other initiatives, the league created a Diversity Advisory Committee and announced the first hiring mandate in the history of its Rooney Rule. With head-coaching hires predominantly coming from the offensive side of the ball in recent years, the league has required each team to hire a diverse candidate to serve as an offensive assistant for the 2022 season. It's possible, Pettine said, that the Vikings' hire could be one of the 12 coaches who are spending this week in Minnesota.