Vikings Land Brian Flores as Their Defensive Coordinator for 2023

Vikings Land Brian Flores as Their Defensive Coordinator for 2023
Brian Flores was fired after leading the Dolphins to two consecutive winning seasons. Syndication Palm Beach Post

At long last, after many twists and turns, the Minnesota Vikings have made a final decision for their defensive coordinator in 2023. Ian Rapoport announced on Monday afternoon that the Vikings will hire Brian Flores as their defensive coordinator for the 2023 season.

Flores was the Pittsburgh Steelers senior defensive assistant and linebackers coach in 2022, and throughout the past few weeks, he was also considered to be in the running for the defensive coordinator position with the Denver Broncos as well as the head coaching job with the Arizona Cardinals.

Prior to his time with the Steelers, Flores was the head coach of the Miami Dolphins from 2019-2021. In those three seasons, Miami went a combined 24-25, but they had winning records in both 2020 and 2021 before he was fired in favor of Mike McDaniel.

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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

Flores’ first coaching experience at the NFL level came with the New England Patriots. During his first years in New England, Flores was part of the Patriots scouting team before earning roles as the special teams assistant (2008-09), special teams coordinator (2010), defensive assistant coach (2011), safeties coach (2012-15), and linebackers coach (2016-18). With New England, he was part of four Super Bowl winning teams.

Now, he heads to Minnesota with the task of rebuilding a Vikings defense that ranked among the worst NFL teams in points allowed, passing yards allowed, total yards allowed, and yards per play allowed during the 2022 season under Ed Donatell.

Flores has more than proven his value to NFL franchises over the course of his coaching career, and his coaching style should look very different compared to Donatell’s for one main reason: blitzing.

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 Vikings rarely blitzed in 2022 with their defensive group, ranking 24th in blitz percentage during the regular season at 18.9%. That almost certainly changes with Flores at the helm. During his final two years in Miami, the Dolphins blitzed the second-most of any team in both 2020 and 2021.

Of course, finding a defensive coordinator is only the first step towards improving the Vikings defense. The roster is also an aging group that could end up going through an overhaul this offseason during the free agency period as well as the 2023 NFL Draft. That being said, on paper, Flores looks like a terrific hire and a great preliminary step in the right direction.

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.