The Minnesota Vikings are expected sooner than later to meet with one of the hottest defensive coaches going in the NFL right now.
Minnesota hit the ground running on hiring a new defensive coordinator in the days after they dumped Ed Donatell, but then things came to a screeching halt. As it turns out, team brass pumped the brakes for one reason only — a shot to land Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, among the rising young stars in the league’s coaching ranks.
Over the weekend, the Vikings took two big steps closer to landing their guy. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported on Saturday, February 4, that the Broncos had cut Evero loose and that an interview with his old compatriots — general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell — was imminent.
“Sources: The #Broncos are allowing defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero out of his contract and he’s expected to interview with the #Vikings,” Rapoport tweeted. “He’s considered a strong candidate in Minnesota, along with Brian Flores.”
Evero Led Broncos Defense to Success in First Year as Coordinator
After the Broncos fired head coach Nathaniel Hackett late in his first season, Denver asked Evero to replace as interim head coach the man who gave him his first shot as a defensive coordinator. Evero declined, later taking a meeting for the permanent head coaching position, though he was rumored not to be truly interested in it.
In just one year running the defensive show in Denver, Evero made quite the name for himself. All told, the Broncos’ defensive numbers were above average in 2022 — finishing eighth in the NFL in total yards surrendered and tied for 14th in total points allowed, per Pro Football Reference.
Those numbers were somewhat skewed by an anomalous 51-point outing from the Baker Mayfield-led Los Angeles Rams offense in Week 16, after the entire situation in Denver had already imploded. Outside of that contest against the Rams, the Broncos afforded opponents an average of 19.25 points per contest. Had they held to that average against L.A., Denver would have allowed the sixth-fewest points of any defense in the NFL last season.
Evero and his defense, widely considered among the most fearsome and effective in the league last year, were also dogged by one of the worst offenses on the other side of the ball. It is a fact that several teams took under consideration before asking Evero to interview for their head coaching positions. Among those franchises were the Broncos, as mentioned above, as well as the Indianapolis Colts, the Arizona Cardinals and the Houston Texans.
Timing Perfect For Vikings to Link up With Evero as New DC
The timing of Evero’s release from Denver couldn’t have lined up better for the Vikings. The 42-year-old is perhaps slightly too green to land a head coaching gig, and is maybe one more successful stint as a coordinator away from being primed to secure a leading role.
Adofo-Mensah and O’Connell are serving in roles as front office and sideline leaders, respectively, for the first time. Both are heading into their second year on the job in Minnesota and could desperately use a quality defensive mind to bolster the ongoing Vikings team build.
Furthermore, Evero worked alongside Adofo-Mensah for a few seasons between 2013-15 as members of the San Francisco 49ers organization before coaching on the same Rams staff as O’Connell for two years between 2020-21.
Former Miami Dolphins head coach and current Pittsburgh Steelers defensive assistant Brian Flores remains a top candidate for the DC job in Minnesota as well, but the smart money has to be on Evero to land the gig with the Vikings should the coming interview go well on both sides.