Brian Flores Name Drops 3 Vikings Defenders

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Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores chatting with Tatum Everett on February 15th, 2023. The Vikings hired Flores from the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he was a linebackers coach for one season.

The Minnesota Vikings hired Brian Flores on February 6th as defensive coordinator, replacing Ed Donatell, who was relieved of duty four days after the franchise lost to the New York Giants in the postseason.

Flores hit the ground running last week, explaining at a press conference his affinity for defensive aggression, how he trusts his gut while coaching, and his endorsement of a 3-4 defense (although that may change from game to game).

Brian Flores Name Drops 3 Vikings Defenders

On the same day as the introductory press conference, Flores also sat down with the Vikings media and elaborated on his biography and coaching philosophy. You can watch the full video here.

Brian Flores Name Drops
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports.

Interestingly, Flores was asked about young players, in particular, he was anxious to develop, and the former Miami Dolphins coach named-dropped Lewis Cine (S), Andrew Booth (CB), and Brian Asamoah (LB). Unsurprisingly, those men were the Vikings first three defensive draft picks last April.

“I mentioned Lewis Cine, Andrew Booth, Brian Asamoah — there’s some good young players that I’m excited to work with. I’m excited to work with everyone on this team and to be a part of it — and make it their team, their defense,” Flores replied to Tatum Everett.

Lewis Cine Pitched a Shutout vs. Lions. And Not in a Good Way.
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Everett also asked Flores about his generalized outlook as the Vikings defensive coordinator, and he responded, “This role, you know, I’m excited about this role. I get the opportunity to coach and lead, to try to help guys become the best version of themselves, on and off the field. That’s something I’m passionate about. And I think this a great opportunity to do that with some great young men.”

Flores has a tall task in revitalizing the Vikings defense. From 2014 to 2019 — the Mike Zimmer heyday — Minnesota’s defense ranked No. 1 in the NFL per defensive EPA/Play. But after a mass exodus of prominent names like Linval Joseph, Everson Griffen, Xavier Rhodes, and others during 2020 free agency, Minnesota’s defense flopped 19 spots to No. 20 via defensive EPA/play in the last three seasons.

Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores takes over the team’s defense at an introductory press conference on February 15th, 2023, in Eagan, Minnesota.

Last season, especially, was a doozy as the Vikings ended the season with a 13-4 record despite ranked third-to-last in points allowed to opponents. And the club was thoroughly exposed on defense during the postseason against the Giants.

Still, Flores plans to lean into young defenders — Cine, Booth, and Asamoah — for development, which could theoretically improve the speed and production. Cornerback Akayleb Evans showcased a few noteworthy performances before suffering back-to-back concussions. He could have an impact, as well.

NFL free agency begins in three weeks, and the Vikings are expected to upgrade on defense then, too.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

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