Former NFL Cornerback Is Rooting for Brian Flores
This offseason, the Minnesota Vikings switched things up on the defensive side of the ball once again, firing Ed Donatell and bringing in Brian Flores to run their defense. Flores is the third defensive coordinator that Minnesota has had in the past three seasons.
Vikings fans won’t be the only ones cheering for Flores’ success. This week, former NFL cornerback Jason McCourty, who is currently a host on NFL Network, published an article on NFL.com laying out people that he is rooting for on all 32 NFL teams. For the Vikings, McCourty listed Flores as that person. Here’s why:
I can’t wait to see what Flores does in Minnesota, where he takes over a defense that just finished 31st in yards allowed and 28th in scoring. He’s a great coach/play-caller, and someone I loved playing for in Miami in 2021. I believe we’ll see the Vikings’ D make some big improvements in 2023 — which I hope, in turn, leads to another opportunity for Flores in the big chair.
In 2022, the Vikings ranked 30th in points allowed, 31st in total yards allowed, 31st in passing yards allowed, 32nd in first downs allowed, 30th in penalties, and 32nd in penalty yardage. That’s a lot of 30s for one team, so when we look at things this way, it’s rather clear that they needed to make big changes on the defensive side of the ball.
So, in comes Flores, hoping to turn things around with a suddenly very young defensive unit in Minnesota. The Vikings parted ways with CB Cam Dantzler, LB Eric Kendricks, CB Patrick Peterson, CB Duke Shelley, CB Chandon Sullivan, and DT Dalvin Tomlinson this offseason. In their stead, a slew of young players are waiting in the wings such as LB Brian Asamoah, CB Mekhi Blackmon, CB Andrew Booth Jr., CB Akayleb Evans, DT Jaquelin Roy, and DB Jay Ward.
As McCourty mentioned, he spent the 2021 season, his 13th and final year in the NFL, playing for Flores with the Miami Dolphins. The then 34-year-old appeared in 7 games and recorded 21 tackles during that campaign.
During the following offseason, Flores was fired by the Dolphins despite leading them to winning records in back-to-back years. He filed a lawsuit against the NFL in the aftermath of the firing (which is still ongoing), accusing the league itself and three teams of being racially discriminatory.
Flores spent the 2022 season as a linebackers coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers, making him perhaps the most overqualified linebackers coach we’ve seen in recent memory.
Now, 2023 is Flores’ first chance to prove that he can lead a successful defense and team at the NFL level since being fired in Miami. If the Vikings do well this year, there is a very good chance that he lands a head coaching gig in 2024 or, at the very latest, 2025.
Based on all the positive messages that Flores has received from players across the league since being hired by the Vikings, it’s easy to see that he is beloved by the players that he has coached over the years. Because of that, it’s hard not to root for him to find that success this year and get back on the head coaching scene.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.