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What Brian Flores Brings to the Minnesota Vikings as Defensive Coordinator

As the Brian Flores era begins as Defensive Coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings, here's a look at what the veteran coach could bring to the staff for at least the 2023 NFL season.
Brian Flores Defensive Coordinator

After a month-long search for a new Defensive Coordinator, the Minnesota Vikings have officially hired Brian Flores to resume the role that was held by Ed Donatell in 2022.

After a one-year experiment, Minnesota fired Donatell after a disastrous year that resulted in the Vikings defense rankings as one of the worst in the NFL.

As a result, head coach Kevin O’Connell and the organization decided it was time to move on from Donatell, and they have found his replacement for at least the 2023 campaign.

Minnesota hired former NFL head coach Brian Flores in early February to take over as Defensive Coordinator after spending time as senior defensive assistant and linebackers coach with the Pittsburgh Steelers a season ago. Flores was one of a handful of reported candidates interviewed for the position, with many viewing him as the top option available to be hired.

Flores will bring a lot to the Vikings in an attempt to until improve a defensive unit that needs a lot of work after a disappointing season this past year.

As the Flores era begins in Minnesota, let’s take a look at what the veteran coach could bring to the staff in 2023.

What Brian Flores Will Provide Minnesota Vikings as Defensive Coordinator

A Good Fit

At first glance, Flores is a good fit alongside the rest of the Minnesota coaching staff and as Defensive Coordinator for the Vikings. He is a younger coach that is willing to prove himself while trying to lead this team to a deep postseason run.

Flores is a nice fit at play-caller on the defensive side of the ball after proving himself at previous stops throughout his coaching career. He has risen up the ranks and arguably got dealt an unfair hand with the Miami Dolphins as their head coach a few seasons ago.

Flores will work well with the current roster while also helping younger players develop with Flores’ history on that side of the ball throughout his career. He is a young, aggressive and energetic coach willing to put the work in, which is exactly what the rest of the Vikings coaching staff presents as well.

A Veteran Voice

Flores is a respected veteran voice throughout the NFL, so it is no surprise he was so sought after this offseason by multiple teams.

The 41-year-old is well-known for his time as head coach of the Dolphins from 2019-21, where he finished with a three-year record of 24-25 while claiming two straight winning seasons before being let go in 2021. Flores also interviewed for the Arizona Cardinals head coaching job, where he was reportedly a finalist, as well as for the defensive coordinator openings in Cleveland and Atlanta.

Prior to coaching for the Dolphins and Steelers, Flores spent the entirety of his career under New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick as one of his assistants, holding titles of special teams assistant, assistant offense and special teams coach, defensive assistant, safeties coach, and linebackers coach spanning from 2008-2018.

Flores has his work cut out for him to actually lead and improve the Vikings defense, but his veteran voice is something that will be valuable in that attempt.

Hopefully Improvement

When it comes to improving the defense, Flores will have a chance to help improve a unit that was near the bottom of the NFL in numerous categories in 2022. Long story short, Flores can’t really do much worse with the Vikings defense.

Under Donatell, Minnesota’s defense ranked one of the worst in the league, having given up more than 400 total yards in 10 of 18 games while finishing 28th in the NFL in points allowed per game with 25.1 points a contest.

The Vikings also ranked second-to-last in receiving yards allowed (4,515) and 20th in rushing yards given up (2,093) to opposing offenses.

Flores will have a tall task in improving the defense, but anything better than last year will be a success. And there isn’t much room to do worse than what took place a year ago.

Regardless of how long Flores stays in Minnesota and if this partnership ultimately works out or not, this hire is worth a try. And Flores can bring a lot to the Vikings defense for at least the 2023 campaign.

Main Photo: Allen Eyestone – USA Today Sports


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