Vikings Seen at Senior Bowl With Favorite for Defensive Coordinator Role

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Brian Flores

Getty Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah was seen at the Reese's Senior Bowl with defensive coordinator candidate Brian Flores.

It’s been conspicuously quiet on the Minnesota Vikings‘ search for a new defensive coordinator.

After interviewing four candidates last week, the Vikings have yet to announce their new hire. There’s been speculation that Minnesota is holding out for Brian Flores, who interviewed for the Arizona Cardinals head coach position on Monday, January 22.

The Vikings have remained in close contact with Flores, literally.

Climb The Pocket’s Matt Anderson captured general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah at the Reese’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, talking with Flores candidly, a week after his interview with the Cardinals. Flores was still sporting his current Pittsburgh Steelers gear as the Steelers’ linebackers coach, however, he is expected to move on.

Considering the new defensive coordinator will have plenty of input on the incoming draft class, Adofo-Mensah and Flores making contact during the Senior Bowl is a positive sign that the Vikings are hoping to be on the same page as Flores.

Brian Flores on the Backburner for Cardinals Job?

Flores was one of the first candidates the Cardinals reached out to for the head coach position.

Arizona has since expanded its search, scheduling interviews with Cincinnati Bengals coordinators Lou Anarumo and Brian Callahan on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.

The Cardinals process has been murky, introducing first-interview candidates while they also have second interviews requested and completed as well.

Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn, Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero and Flores have all received second interview requests.

The Cardinals are also working to hire Sean Peyton as their choice hire.

Brian Flores Would Be the Opposite of Ed Donatell With Vikings

A disciple of the Bill Belichick coaching tree, Flores adopted heavy blitz and disguised pressures under the legendary New England Patriots coach. He took over play-calling duties during the 2018 season and was credited with halting the league’s No. 2-ranked offense in the Los Angeles Rams under offensive wunderkind Sean McVay in the Patriots’ Super Bowl 53 victory.

“There’s no other way to say it, but I got out-coached,” McVay said, per the Miami Herald.

Flores dialed up disguises and opportune blitzes, sacking Jared Goff four times and holding the Rams quarterback to 3-of-12 on third down and a 57.6 passer rating.

Flores was hired as the Miami Dolphins head coach the next season. He turned the Dolphins defense, which allowed the most points in the league in 2019, into one of the league’s most feared units, allowing the sixth-fewest points in 2020. The Dolphins fired Flores after three seasons — a move that has come under legal scrutiny after Flores filed a lawsuit alleging Miami attempted to bribe him to throw games as head coach.

Zone Coverage’s Nick Olson, comparing Flores’ blitz rates of 40-plus percent in his final two seasons in Miami compared to Donatell’s 18.9% blitz rate this season, tweeted saying “Flores is about as different from Donatell as you could get.”

“Could be a hell of a hire — he did some amazing things in Miami,” Olson said. “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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