Sought-After Coach Emerges as Candidate For Vikings’ DC Job

Adofo-Mensah, O'Connell, Vikings

Getty General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah (left) and head coach Kevin O'Connell (right) of the Minnesota Vikings.

Patience can be difficult to maintain when it comes to the NFL coaching carousel but that only makes it more of a virtue, which the Minnesota Vikings just proved.

The Vikings have been in the market for a new defensive coordinator since parting ways with Ed Donatell on January 19, just days after the team was eliminated from the playoffs by the New York Giants at home during Super Wild Card Weekend.

The heat appeared to be on considering how quickly Minnesota dismissed Donatell before immediately moving to interview the likes of defensive assistant Brian Flores of the Pittsburgh Steelers and in-house candidate Mike Pettine, among others. However, ESPN’s Kevin Seifert reported on Wednesday, February 1, that the Vikings had taken their foot off the gas in the hunt for a new DC with the hopes of gaining an audience with one of the hottest names in the NFL — Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero.

“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.”

Broncos’ Ejiro Evero One of Most Sought-After Coaches in NFL

Ejiro Evero Broncos

GettyDefensive coordinator Ejiro Evero of the Denver Broncos is a head coaching candidate for several teams in 2023, as well as a defensive coordinator candidate for the Minnesota Vikings.

The 42-year-old Evero has been a defensive coordinator in the NFL for just one year, but is nevertheless a rising star after captaining what was a fearsome Denver defense for much of the 2022 campaign.

Evero turned down the opportunity to be the Broncos’ interim head coach after the team fired first-year man Nathaniel Hackett prior to the end of his first season. Evero also interviewed for the head coaching position in Denver after the year ended, though he is expected to be on his way out of town after the team traded for Sean Payton, who is reportedly interested in hiring Vic Fangio as his new defensive coordinator. Hackett replaced Fangio as the Broncos head coach just last season, after Fangio’s unsuccessful three-year run at the helm in Denver between 2019-21.

Evero was also a candidate for the Houston Texans‘ top job before that went to former San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans. As Seifert noted, Evero remains in contention for open head coaching positions with the Arizona Cardinals and the Indianapolis Colts.

Evero Has Ties With Vikings’ GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, HC Kevin O’Connell

Adofo-Mensah, Vikings

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

If Evero doesn’t land either of those head coaching jobs, however, one of the more likely lateral moves for him would be to reunite with Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell in Minnesota.

Evero spent time with Adofo-Mensah in San Francisco between 2013-15 as both an offensive and defensive assistant. Evero was then part of the Los Angeles Rams staff alongside O’Connell in 2020 and 2021, serving as the safeties coach that first year and as the defensive passing game coordinator/secondary coach during the team’s run to the Super Bowl title in his second season.

Flores, the former head coach of the Miami Dolphins who was seen conversing with Adofo-Mensah at the Senior Bowl on Tuesday, is still a top candidate in Minnesota, though he is also garnering interest as a possible DC or head coach with other teams around the NFL.

It appears after Seifert’s reporting on Wednesday, however, that the Vikings’ defensive coordinator job will be Evero’s to lose should he decide to interview for it — either because his head coaching opportunities in Arizona and Indianapolis don’t pan out, or because he doesn’t believe either team is the right fit for him heading into 2023.

Read More