Vikings Conduct 1st Interview for Vacant DC Position

Vikings Conduct 1st Interview for Vacant DC Position
Oct 20, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; New Orleans Saints co defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings have officially conducted their first interview for their vacant DC position after firing 2022’s defensive coordinator, Ed Donatell, following just one year of running the defense. Minnesota’s first interview goes to New Orleans Saints defensive line coach and co-defensive coordinator, Ryan Nielsen.

The Vikings are on the search for a replacement for their 2022 coordinator Ed Donatell, who they fired this past week. Nielsen is a bit of an under-the-radar candidate for this job, but the production that the Saints defense has experienced with him on the staff is impressive. Since he arrived with the team in 2017, the Saints have never ranked worse than 14th in scoring defense.

Minnesota requested an interview with Nielsen just over the weekend, and apparently, head coach Dennis Allen and the Saints organization gave it the okay because the interview was complete by Monday afternoon.

Nov 17, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New Orleans Saints defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

2022 was Nielsen’s first season in the role of co-defensive coordinator, and in that role, he helped the Saints rank ninth in points allowed and fifth in yards allowed. In his previous five seasons with New Orleans, he was the defensive line coach.

However, Nielsen’s coaching experience goes further back than that. He got started in 2002 with USC as a volunteer assistant, and since then, he’s also held various defensive roles at Ole Miss, Central Connecticut State, Tennessee-Martin, Northern Illinois, and NC State.

The 43-year-old doesn’t have any experience with Kevin O’Connell, unlike many other candidates connected to this job, but he does fit the bill for an energetic and young coach. Additionally, unlike Flores, Nielsen could be a more long-term solution to the position.

Nielsen remains the only confirmed interview for the defensive coordinator spot, but there will likely be others coming in very soon. Whenever the news is announced, you can be sure PurplePTSD will have you covered.

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.