Rival Coach Eyes Vikings’ Favorite DC Candidate, Requests Interview

Sean Payton

Getty Newly hired Denver Broncos coach Sean Payton has requested interviews with two Vikings defensive coordinator candidates.

Sean Payton is finding new ways to get under the skin of Minnesota Vikings fans despite moving to a different conference.

Payton, who was head coach of the 2009 New Orleans Saints team that beat the Vikings in the NFC Championship en route to the franchise’s first Super Bowl, was hired as the Denver Broncos‘ new head coach and has requested an interview with the runaway favorite for Minnesota’s defensive coordinator job, Brian Flores.

“The #Broncos have requested to interview with #Steelers LBs coach and senior defensive assistant Brian Flores for their defensive coordinator position under Sean Payton, source said,” NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported on February 3.

Just a few hours after Rapoport’s leak of the Flores interview request, he also reported another Vikings defensive coordinator candidate, Seattle Seahawks assistant coach Sean Desai, has been requested to interview with Denver.

The wave of interview requests comes after Payton had met with current Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, who has interviewed for the Indianapolis Colts and Arizona Cardinals head coach positions.

Mile High Sports’ lead Broncos reporter Cody Roark finds Desai and Flores merely “contingencies” in case Evero departs.

“To my understand, #Broncos request to interview Brian Flores for DC is Sean Payton being proactive in the event Ejiro Evero gets offered #Colts or Cardinals job,” Roark tweeted. “Have to have contingencies in place, but Evero is very well wanted back.”

Roark’s report makes sense, considering Payton and Evero met on February 2 and the Broncos have not made any announcements regarding his future. If Payton wanted to find a new coordinator, Evero would have likely been dismissed before the Broncos would request interviews for a new coordinator.

The Vikings have expressed a desire to interview Eviro, however, there has been no formal request.

Vikings, NFL Are Waiting on the Colts and Cardinals to Make Head Coach Move

The Vikings’ search for a new defensive coordinator has hit a standstill as their ideal candidates are waiting on pending opportunities elsewhere.

Flores is a candidate for the Cardinals job, while Eviro is waiting for both the Cardinals and Colts to announce their selections to fill their head coach vacancies.

Minnesota has Flores, Desai and internal candidate Mike Pettine still available after interviewing all three candidates last week. However, what happens in Indianapolis and Arizona may prompt a pivot to pursue Eviro.

“The reason the Vikings’ search for a defensive coordinator has been quiet lately is that, per sources, they’re waiting to see if they can get an interview with the Denver Broncos’ Ejiro Evero,” Seifert tweeted. “At the moment, he’s a candidate for the head coach job in Indianapolis and Arizona.”

Eviro is the 1st Domino That Needs to Fall

The Vikings’ current holdout on announcing their hire is a telltale sign that Flores is their No. 1 pick for coordinator. However, if Eviro, with interviews in hand with the Colts and Cardinals, gets the Colts job, Arizona’s case for Flores may become even stronger.

Eviro and Flores appear close in the Vikings hierarchy of coordinator candidates, while Desai, who KSTP’s Darren Wolfson has said impressed in his interview, is a close third candidate.

There is no rush to hire a defensive coordinator at this stage of the offseason, however, if Pettine were a serious candidate, Minnesota would have likely promoted him to the position midseason amid Ed Donatell’s struggles.

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