Minnesota Vikings Hire Brian Flores As New Defensive Coordinator
Less than three weeks removed from the Minnesota Vikings parting ways with their 2022/2023 defensive coordinator Ed Donatell, the team has reportedly hired his replacement.
According to NFL insider Ian Rapoport, the Vikings have finalized a deal to hire Brian Flores, who was the linebackers coach and senior defensive assistant with the Pittsburgh Steelers last season.
Flores, who was the head coach for the Miami Dolphins from 2019 to 2021, was a hot candidate for teams looking to upgrade at different coaching levels this offseason. Aside from the Vikings, Flores had also been linked to the Denver Broncos, Atlanta Falcons, and Cleveland Browns as a defensive coordinator candidate and as a head coaching candidate for the Arizona Cardinals.
The Vikings formally shared the announcement about hiring Flores just before 5:30 pm on Monday, February 6.
Flores had previously worked with Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell when they were both involved with different roles with the New England Patriots in 2008. O'Connell had been drafted as a quarterback by the Patriots while Flores was shifting from a scouting role to working with the Patriots special teams staff.
During his time with the Patriots, Flores was part of four Super Bowl victories. The first came the same year he was hired as a scout, the second as an assistant/special teams coach, and the final two as linebackers coach. After the fourth Super Bowl victory, Flores went on to serve as the head coach of the Dolphins for three seasons, then joined the Steelers as a defensive assistant and linebackers coach.
Flores now finds himself in charge of revamping a Vikings defense that ranked among the worst defense in the NFL. The 2022 Vikings allowed the second most offensive yards and was tied for fifth-most points allowed during the season among all teams in the league.
Some fans pointed directly at now-fired Ed Donatell's playcalling or scheme for the Vikings having such defensive woes. Others argue a combination of aging players and a skill mismatch for Donatell's 3-4 base defense was the prime issue.
Coach O'Connell has previously expressed he likes a defense that is based out of a 3-4, which is what Flores has operated elsewhere. So, changing the coach and making some player changes during the offseason will hopefully lead to improvement and take care of concerns from both sides of the argument about why the defense failed so much in 2022.
With the hiring of Flores, the hope is that the team has a coordinator that will be around for a few years, allowing the team to make some moves in free agency and in the draft to fill in some gaps with the overall goal that O'Connell's offense isn't having to play catch-up or keep-up in every game next season.