If the Dolphins Don’t Want Brian Flores, Minnesota Should Take Him
Yesterday was Black Monday, and we saw a lot of action around the league with teams parting ways with members of their coaching staffs. Some were expected, such as the Vikings deciding to move on from Mike Zimmer. Others were not as expected, and the least expected of all was the Miami Dolphins deciding to call it quits with Brian Flores after just three seasons.
I don’t care what team it is; Flores should immediately become the top candidate for anyone looking for a new head coach. That list includes the Minnesota Vikings. Some may be hesitant to bring in a coach that isn’t offensive minded after eight years of Mike Zimmer, but let me explain.
First of all, it’s remarkable what Flores was able to do in such a short time with Miami. Do you remember that 2019 Dolphins team that everyone was predicting to be one of the worst teams in NFL history? Flores somehow made them a 5-11 squad, including back-to-back wins to close out the season. The overall stats won’t suggest it, but that team really began figuring some things out on defense down the stretch of the season, and they forced 14 turnovers over their final 10 games.
The following year, Miami took another big leap even with an injury to Tua Tagovailoa. They finished the season 10-6, again anchored by a great defense that finished the season first in takeaways. They also allowed just 21 points per game in that year.
2021 is of course the dark blotch on Flores’ coaching resume, though. Miami was expected to compete for a playoff spot after missing out on one in 2020 due to tiebreakers. However, after a 1-7 start, that once again seemed out the window.
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That is, until the team won seven games in a row to improve to 8-7. During that stretch, it was again the defense that carried the way. The group allowed 10 or fewer points in five of those contests. However, a week 17 loss to the Tennessee Titans officially eliminated them from contention. Miami finished 9-8, half a game behind the 9-7-1 Steelers for the seventh seed.
Additionally, Flores is a young coach that should be there for the long haul for whoever picks him up. Even if the Vikings choose to go into a rebuild, he’s proven that he can be a part of that sort of plan in Miami. In fact, he’s proven he can accelerate that sort of plan by multiple years. He’s a coach that demands the attention of his players and gets a team excited to go out and battle on the field.
It’s the exact kind of culture change that the Vikings need in 2022. Too often, the 2021 group seemed like they were just going through the motions. They rarely played with a fire under them, but when they did, we saw games like the win over Green Bay.
Overall, if Brian Flores proved he can help turn a franchise like the Miami Dolphins around, he can certainly do that with the Vikings, possibly in even less time. When Flores got to Miami, the Dolphins had gone 8-8 or worse in 10 of their last 12 seasons. They went 10-6 in his second year there. Almost immediately, Flores was able to change that culture and took a bottom-feeder organization to a respectable .500 group.
Again, I understand that some want an offensive mind at head coach. But more important than what side of the field a coach’s expertise lands is their command of a locker room. Dan Campbell has done that this year in Detriot; his players love playing for him. The Vikings need that sort of coach/player relationship in their organization. All the pieces are there for Minnesota to compete, but they need a leader that can help change the culture. Luckily for the Vikings, they still land near the top of the list of desirable head coaching positions, so if they want him, they should be able to land Flores. Let’s make it happen.