Vikings give hope for immediate defensive turnaround with Brian Flores hire

The Minnesota Vikings’ defensive coordinator search as reached its conclusion, with the team hiring former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores.

The Minnesota Vikings are one year into the Kevin O’Connell era, and the team has already made a huge change to their coaching staff. After the 2022 season ended for the Vikings, they fired defensive coordinator Ed Donatell after the team struggled mightily on his side of the line of scrimmage. Minnesota conducted a search, in which they saw candidates like Ejiro Evero and Ryan Nielsen accept defensive coordinator jobs with the Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons, respectively.

But on Monday, the Vikings found the coach who will lead the defense in 2023, and that is Brian Flores.

According to ESPN senior NFL insider Adam Schefter, Flores has accepted Minnesota’s defensive coordinator job.

Vikings hire former Dolphins HC Brian Flores as next DC

This is a huge hire for the Vikings, considering the team, who were contenders in the NFC, fell well short of their expectations due in part to the performance of the defense under Donatell. This year, Minnesota surrendered an average of 388.7 yards of offense (second-most in NFL) and 25.1 points per game (tied for third-most). Perhaps the most telling sign that a change needed to be made was that Minnesota gave up 31 points to the New York Giants in the Wild Card Round, and they have scored over 30 points in a game just once in their 17 regular-season games.

Flores spent this past season as the senior defensive assistant and linebackers coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Prior to that, he was the head coach of the Miami Dolphins. Just prior to getting that job, he was the linebackers coach for the New England Patriots in the 2018 season, where he called defensive plays and held the Los Angeles Rams to just three points in Super Bowl 53.

The fact that the Vikings were able to land Flores was impressive. Ahead of this news being reported, he was a candidate for the Arizona Cardinals head coaching job. He was scheduled to meet with the Cardinals for his second interview on Wednesday, per NFL Network national insider Ian Rapoport. Additionally, Flores was scheduled to interview for the Denver Broncos defensive coordinator position on Tuesday.

After winning 13 games and the NFC North championship this season, the Vikings have opted to bring in Flores to fix their maligned defense to really make them legitimate Super Bowl contenders out of the NFC next season.

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