We’ve got our first candidate for the Vikings defensive coordinator job. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter), the Vikings have requested permission to interview Steelers senior defensive assistant/linebackers coach Brian Flores for their defensive coordinator vacancy.
Flores has once again been a popular name this offseason. The 41-year-old interviewed for the Cardinals head coaching job (and was considered by some to be the favorite), and he’s also been connected to defensive coordinator openings with the Browns and Falcons. These interviews followed a 2022 campaign where Flores served as the Steelers linebackers coach.
Flores does have a minor connection to Minnesota, having overlapped with head coach Kevin O’Connell for a year in New England. The Vikings announced earlier this week that they would “be going in a different direction at defensive coordinator in 2023,” ending the tenure of defensive play-caller Ed Donatell. Several potential candidates have been mentioned for the opening, including Vikings assistant head coach Mike Pettine.
As our own Sam Robinson recently noted, Flores has never officially held the title of defensive coordinator; he was a position coach in New England while serving as the team’s unofficial DC following Matt Patricia’s exit to Detroit. Flores ended up winning four rings before getting a head coaching gig with the Dolphins in 2019. His tenure in Miami was shaky, culminating in a discrimination lawsuit following his surprise 2022 firing. Still, Flores was connected to a handful of head coaching openings last offseason, and following one year in Pittsburgh, he’s looking at a top coaching role for the 2023 campaign.