Vikings Hire Former NFL Head Coach as Next D-Coordinator

Adofo-Mensah, O'Connell, Vikings

Getty General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah (left) and head coach Kevin O'Connell (right) of the Minnesota Vikings address the media at TCO Performance Center on February 17, 2022 in Eagan, Minnesota. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

It has been something of a whirlwind over the last few weeks but the Minnesota Vikings have finally landed their new defensive coordinator, and the hire is an impressive one.

The Vikings on Monday, February 6, announced the hiring of Brian Flores as the team’s new defensive architect. Flores spent last season as a senior defensive assistant with the Pittsburgh Steelers after a three-year stint as head coach of the Miami Dolphins. Before that, Flores was a long-time defensive coach with the New England Patriots under Bill Belichick.

Minnesota announced the hiring via its official Twitter account Monday afternoon.

“FLO!” the caption read. “The #Vikings have named Brian Flores defensive coordinator.”

Flores Appears to Have Been Vikings’ Second Choice Behind Evero

Brian Flores, Miami Dolphins

GettyFormer head coach of the Miami Dolphins Brian Flores looks on from the sideline during a game against the New York Jets at Hard Rock Stadium on December 19, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Florida.

Jeremy Fowler of ESPN reacted to the news just minutes after it became public, offering some insider insight on the hiring process in Minnesota.

“Though Ejiro Evero was a prime candidate for Minnesota before he took Carolina DC job, Brian Flores very much impressed in the interview process and the Vikings appeared to work quickly to hire him,” Fowler tweeted. “Should be big lift for Vikings D.”

The Vikings appeared to be waiting on Evero, who the Denver Broncos released from his contract yesterday after just one season as defensive coordinator. Minnesota was primed for a run at Evero before the Carolina Panthers quickly snapped him up in what is believed to have been a big-money play.

Evero’s exit from Denver created an opening atop a defensive staff that comes equipped with elite-level player talent on that side of the ball and revered head coach Sean Payton at the helm of the entire operation. Thus, Evero’s exit de-valued the Vikings’ DC job to a degree, then made things even worse when he quickly signed on with an NFC rival.

Locking Down Flores Big Win For Vikings After Recent Developments

Kevin O'Connell, Vikings

GettyHead coach Kevin O’Connell of the Minnesota Vikings takes the field prior to a game against the Indianapolis Colts at U.S. Bank Stadium on December 17, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

While Flores may not have been head coach Kevin O’Connell’s first choice, he is a darn good one.

Flores was on the head coaching list for multiple NFL teams this cycle, including the Arizona Cardinals where he was rumored to be in the mix for a second interview before accepting the DC position with the Vikings. Flores was also named as a candidate for the open DC job with the Broncos after interviewing for the same position with the Cleveland Browns and Atlanta Falcons in recent days.

Only two years removed from a head coaching job, Flores was fired in Miami despite back-to-back winning seasons and one of the better defenses in the league over that span. He subsequently filed a lawsuit against the Broncos, Dolphins and New York Giants alleging discriminatory hiring and firing practices in the wake of his abrupt dismissal from the Dolphins organization.

Flores is likely to bring a more aggressive approach to the Vikings’ unit than former DC Ed Donatell, as his Miami defenses registered a blitz rate more than twice as high as Donatell’s did in Minnesota last season.

“Could be a hell of a hire — he did some amazing things in Miami,” Nick Olson of Viking Territory wrote. “Would be a hard pivot from Fangio-style defense to Belichick-style man match, and would require significant investment in CBs. But like I always say, another first-round corner couldn’t do us any harm.”

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