Brian Flores Has a Very Mike Zimmer-Esque Answer to the Vikings’ Cornerback Situation

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears
Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

“You can never have enough corners.”

It was a staple of former Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer’s defensive philosophy, and now, it appears that Brian Flores is taking a similar approach to Minnesota’s defense in 2024. The Vikings defensive coordinator, set to enter his second season with the franchise, spent time talking to reporters on Tuesday, addressing the state of the defense pre-draft.

Brian Flores Offers Familiar Sentiment for Vikings CB Room

Brian Flores
Nov 12, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. (7) celebrates his interception with safety Camryn Bynum (24) against the New Orleans Saints in the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

As you’ve probably guessed, a good chunk of that media time was spent addressing the Vikings’ cornerback room. Minnesota has spent much of the 2020s trying to rebuild that group with mixed success between veteran free agent signings and draft picks.

However, with Minnesota holding nine cornerbacks on their roster heading into the draft, including the recent free agent signing of Shaquill Griffin, does it need to be a position of focus? Well, according to Flores, the answer appears to be yes.

“You can never never have enough corners,” Flores stated. “It’s a passing league. There’s a lot of great receivers, so you can never have enough. I think every team feels that way between the amount of receivers they can put on the field, attrition, injuries, you can never have enough good corners or really, good players throughout the roster.”

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings
Nov 12, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Mekhi Blackmon (5) celebrates his interception against the New Orleans Saints in the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a fair assessment, and indeed, the Vikings may end up needing to bring in another quality player either through the draft or via another free agency acquisition.

Last season, Flores was forced to pivot away from his typical press man coverage style and instead implement more of a zone scheme that heavily relied on production from safeties like Camryn Bynum, Josh Metellus, and Harrison Smith.

In fact, the Vikings only had four cornerbacks last year who took the field for 50 or more defensive snaps (Byron Murphy, Akayleb Evans, Mekhi Blackmon, and Andrew Booth). Meanwhile, the trio of Bynum, Metellus, and Smith were three of four Vikings defenders to play more than 1000 snaps on defense (Danielle Hunter being the fourth).

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers
Oct 29, 2023; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Akayleb Evans (21) tackles Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones (33) during their football game at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Wm. Glasheen-USA TODAY Sports

This isn’t to suggest that the Vikings don’t have talented players in place. Mekhi Blackmon showed plenty of positive strides throughout his rookie season and should be poised to take on an even bigger role in 2024. Before Byron Murphy’s injury, he was a very productive player at the position as well, recording 13 passes defended and three interceptions.

Specifically on Murphy, Flores had some high praise to share, saying, “I think he was playing some really, really good football prior to his injury. […] Byron’s leadership, his competitiveness, his experience in the backend was very, very positive for us a year ago.”

Ultimately, the Vikings saw some major defensive growth in 2023, and another cornerback to that group could be the piece that takes Minnesota over the top in the NFL.

Editor’s Note: Statistics for this article were found via Pro Football Reference.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of 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.