Fiery Lions Coach Expected to Land Job With Vikings, Insider Says

Lions coaching staff

Getty Lions head coach Dan Campbell (center) had Aubrey Pleasant (not pictured) on his coaching staff during the 2021 season.

The Minnesota Vikings’ coaching staff is starting to fall into formation.

Minnesota is expected to officially hire Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell after the Super Bowl.

In anticipation of the hiring, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the Vikings have begun looking for their new defensive coordinator, requesting interviews with Baltimore Ravens defensive line coach/running game coordinator Anthony Weaver and Detroit Lions defensive backs coach/passing game coordinator Aubrey Pleasant.

Though the Vikings have yet to interview Pleasant, a Lions insider said it appears Pleasant already has the job sealed.

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‘Expect Pleasant to Land the Job’

A day after Pelissero’s tweet about the Vikings requesting to interview Pleasant, Lions Wire editor Jeff Risdon suggested that Pleasant is the favorite for the job.

“A little birdie told me to expect Pleasant to land the job,” Risdon tweeted on February 8. “Good for him. Fantastic teacher. Will not easily be replaced.”

Pleasant, 35, might be best known for an intense sideline back-and-forth with second-year cornerback Jeff Okudah during the Lions’ Week 1 game on September 12, 2021. Footage from Fox’s telecast went viral.

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It might’ve appeared as yet another moment of frustration in Detroit, but as CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones tweeted the day after the game, Pleasant can be as gentle as he can be fiery. Jones tweeted more footage from later in the game, this time showing Pleasant coaching Okudah “with love.”

An ‘Enthusiastic Technical Master’

A Flint, Michigan, native, Pleasant was a three-year letter winner at the University of Wisconsin, where he played safety and earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology. He started coaching at Grand Blanc High School in Michigan, where he worked in the Flint Community School District as a behavioral specialist and special needs teacher, per

He went on to the University of Michigan as a graduate assistant and eventual assistant defensive backs coach while getting a master’s degree in teaching. Moving up to the NFL ranks, Pleasant spent three years in Washington but didn’t cross paths with O’Connell there. Pleasant left Washington to take a job as the Rams’ cornerbacks coach from 2017 to 2020, overlapping with O’Connell in his final year in Los Angeles.

Rams cornerbacks ranked second in the NFL in interceptions (28), led the NFL in interception return yards (496) and led the NFL in interceptions returned for touchdowns (five) over the four seasons with Pleasant.

Returning to All-Pro form after being traded to the Rams, Jalen Ramsey credited his rise as one of the NFL’s best cover men in part to Pleasant.

“I love being coached extremely hard, and he does that,” Ramsey said in a 2020 interview. “We have a great relationship outside of just football where I’m able to talk to him. He’s just a good friend, to be honest with you. When you need an ear to listen, he’s there for you. When you need somebody to tell you the truth — right or wrong — he’s done that as well. He’s my type of guy. That’s the type of guys I like to be surrounded by.”

Pleasant returned to Michigan to take over as the Lions’ defensive backs coach and passing game coordinator. Risdon took notice of Pleasant’s commitment, per

“It’s obvious from watching practices that these youngsters have talent but need refinement and experience. It’s also readily apparent that DBs coach Aubrey Pleasant is a willing instructor and enthusiastic technical master. Pleasant is always pulling a player aside after a rep to explain what he liked and what needs to be better. He can physically demonstrate it, or explain it on the video screens,” Risdon wrote in September 2021. “[General manager Brad Holmes] brought Pleasant along from the Rams and called the Flint native, ‘one of, if not the, best DB coach that I’ve been around.'”

While Vikings fans are familiar with having a “cornerbacks whisperer” in their organization, Pleasant has been given the same accolade and has the personality that may mesh better in the organization than Mike Zimmer in his final years.

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