5 Quick Thoughts after the Vikings Hire of Brian Flores

Jun 9, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers senior defensive assistant/linebackers coach Brian Flores (left) and offensive coordinator Matt Canada (right) participate in minicamp at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings officially have their defensive coordinator going into the 2023 season after hiring Brian Flores to take over the reins of the defense. So, what exactly does that mean for Minnesota? Here are 5 quick thoughts in the immediate aftermath of the new hire.

Give the Vikings Leadership Credit

5 Quick Thoughts after the Vikings Hire of Brian Flores
Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell

First and foremost, the Minnesota Vikings leadership group deserves a ton of credit for this hire. I wrote on Sunday that the jobs in Arizona and Denver probably made more sense for Flores considering the fact that the Cardinals would have given him full reign over the team, and the Broncos look like a much more solidified group on the defensive side of the ball.

It was going to take a big sales pitch from Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell to lure a coordinator of that caliber to help rebuild Minnesota’s defense from the ground up, and at the end of the day, the group got it done. Kudos to them.

Brian Asamoah Should See an Increased Role

Reaction to Vikings Win over Jets
Dec 4, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Brian Asamoah II (33) leaps over the celebration pile late during the fourth quarter after an interception by safety Camryn Bynum (24) off New York Jets quarterback Mike White (5) sealed the victory at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

After this news, Brian Asamoah should be licking his chops. Flores defenses have a knack for utilizing young, athletic linebackers as blitzers. Think about Jerome Baker for the Dolphins. With Flores as Miami’s head coach from 2019-2021, Baker recorded 19 TFLs, 31 QB hits, and 14 sacks. He’s always going to be a plus-asset as a coverage linebacker, but Flores was able to extract some terrific blitzes for the Dolphins linebacker that led to numbers we didn’t see out of him in 2022.

Even if you aren’t totally sold on Asamoah being able to become an elite linebacker later on in his NFL career, we should have faith that Flores will be able to get every last ounce of production out of the young Vikings linebacker. Oh, and Asamoah seems to be pretty excited about the hire as well.

The Vikings Need a Lockdown Corner

Vikings Draft Thermometer: CB Devon Witherspoon
Nov 6, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini defensive back Devon Witherspoon (31) celebrates a win against the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the fourth quarter at Huntington Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

With all the blitzing that appears to be headed to Minnesota in 2023, there’s now one need that the Vikings have that eclipses all others: a lockdown cornerback. The way that teams are going to be able to beat this defense is through throws over the top of all the blitzers.

Because of that, it’s imperative that the Vikings get at least one cornerback that can consistently win one-on-one battles in coverage. Perhaps either Patrick Peterson or Duke Shelley can be contributors, but this seems to further open the door to the idea of the Vikings selecting a corner in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft.

Don’t Worry About Flores Being “One-and-Done”

Brian Flores
Jan 9, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores watches from the sideline during the second quarter of the game against the New England Patriots at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The reason that some people initially had some doubts about Brian Flores joining the Vikings was because he’s always going to be part of the head coaching cycle, until he gets a head coaching job.

That means his tenure in Minnesota may be short, but it will only be short if the Vikings defense performs well. Ultimately, if Flores is a “one-and-done” coordinator, that likely means Minnesota played very well in 2023.

The Hitman Should Stick Around

Questions Answered: Hitman Status, Darrisaw as the Real Deal, Where Was Cine?
Sep 19, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports.

Brian Asamoah should be ecstatic about this hire, but so should Harrison Smith. There have been theories floating around that the Hitman could be done in Minnesota after the 2022 campaign, but Flores’ hire should give renewed hope that Smith can still be a key contributor on this defense, again, because of his ability to blitz out of the secondary.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. He also earned minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys marathon training, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his opinions, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.