The First Question of the Vikings Offseason Has Been Answered

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears
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The 2023 Vikings offseason saw many changes within the organization. One such change was the decision to bring in Brian Flores as their new defensive coordinator after letting go of Ed Donatell.

Flores, who spent three seasons as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins from 2019-2021, has been one of the more respected coaches in the NFL throughout the years. One major question for Flores, and the Vikings organization as a whole, following the conclusion of the 2023 regular season regarded Flores’ status as a head coaching candidate.

Well, that question officially has been answered as of Thursday morning when the Washington Commanders made the decision to hire Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn as their next coach. With all 32 coaching vacancies being filled, it officially appears as if Flores will remain Minnesota’s DC in 2024.

The First Question of the Vikings Offseason Has Been Answered

Vikings Offseason
Jan 1, 2023; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; A Minnesota Vikings helmet sits on the field during warmups prior to the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Here is a look at all eight head coaching vacancies, and how they ended up being filled:

  • Atlanta Falcons hire Raheem Morris
  • Carolina Panthers hire Dave Canales
  • Las Vegas Raiders hire Antonio Pierce
  • Los Angeles Chargers hire Jim Harbaugh
  • New England Patriots hire Jerod Mayo
  • Seattle Seahawks hire Mike Macdonald
  • Tennessee Titans hire Brian Callahan
  • Washington Commanders hire Dan Quinn

Interestingly, five of the eight spots were filled with defensive coaches, but Flores was not in the mix. The Vikings defensive coordinator not getting a head coaching gig was not because of a lack of production, though. After the Vikings allowed the third-most points and second-most yards during the 2022 season, Minnesota saw massive leaps forward in 2023.

The Vikings allowed the 14th-fewest points and 16th-fewest yards during 2023, and there was a stretch from Weeks 6-14 where the unit was truly elite. Minnesota allowed 25+ points just once during that eight-game stretch, and they forced multiple turnovers in six of those games. As a result, Minnesota went 6-2 in that stretch before screeching to a halt over the final three weeks.

Nov 12, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Jordan Hicks (58) and linebacker Ivan Pace Jr. (40) and linebacker Nick Vigil (right) gather before the game against the New Orleans Saints at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Flores found a way to maximize Danielle Hunter in 2023, and the pass rusher put together career-high numbers in both tackles for loss and sacks. Meanwhile, he rejuvenated the career of LB Jordan Hicks and helped players like Camryn Bynum, Josh Metellus, and Ivan Pace emerge as crucial contributors.

Despite all this success in Minnesota, stunningly, Flores did not even receive an interview request for a head coaching job. Part of this likely is because of his lawsuit against the NFL following his departure from Miami.

Further indicating that Flores truly wasn’t on the radar of NFL teams for head coaching jobs this year was this tweet from Adam Schefter after Washington finalized their hiring of Quinn:

Included on this list of coaches who were unable to land head coaching jobs this hiring cycle were proven head coaches like Bill Belichick, Pete Carroll, and Mike Vrabel along with multiple talented coordinators like Eric Bieniemy, Ejiro Evero, Aaron Glenn, and Ben Johnson.

Flores is a notable omission from that list, and perhaps this is simply because he didn’t receive an interview. Still, it seems to further solidify that the Vikings defensive coordinator simply wasn’t on teams’ radars.

Top-5 Moves
Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores in Miami Gardens, September 15, 2019. © Allen Eyestone via Imagn Content Services, LLC.

Perhaps with another season of great success in Minnesota, that will change during the 2025 hiring cycle. For now, though, the Vikings will be beneficiaries of the rest of the NFL’s decision to overlook Flores.

Minnesota gets to keep their guy, and it will be exciting to see what he does with this defense in year two.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference helped with this article.

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.