The Dark Horse for Vikings Defensive Coordinator Job

Vikings Blasted for Not
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The Minnesota Vikings have interviewed Sean Desai (Seattle Seahawks), Brian Flores (Pittsburgh Steelers), Ryan Nielsen (New Orleans Saints), and Mike Pettine (Vikings) so far for their open defensive coordinator position.

Ed Donatell, the 2022 defensive boss, was let go about two weeks ago after the Vikings finished 27th in defensive DVOA and couldn’t hinder Daniel Jones’ New York Giants one iota in the postseason.

The Dark Horse for Vikings Defensive Coordinator Job

And while it’s probably a safe bet that Minnesota will hire Flores, Desai, or Pettine (Nielsen accepted the New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator job) — they otherwise likely would’ve interviewed other men by now — keep an eye on one dark-horse candidate, Ejiro Evero.

The Dark Horse
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Ejiro is widely respected around the NFL and last worked as the Denver Broncos defensive coordinator. But with Nathaniel Hackett out in Denver, Evero may be temporarily jobless. Evero took over as the Broncos head coach after Hackett’s premature dismal and interviewed for head coaching jobs this cycle with the Carolina Panthers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts — and Broncos.

Why is Evero a Vikings dark horse? Simple — the man has ties to Minnesota’s general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell. Evero worked as a quality control coach, offensive assistant, and defensive assistant from 2011 to 2015 with the San Francisco 49ers, overlapping time with Adofo-Mensah, who worked for the 49ers from 2013 to 2019.

Problem Emerges for Vikings
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To sweeten the deal, Evero also worked on Sean McVay’s staff with the Los Angeles Rams, the same place O’Connell offensively coordinated before joining the Vikings as head coach one year ago. Evero was a safeties coach and secondary coach from 2017 to 2021, while O’Connell was McVay’s top offensive lieutenant in 2020 and 2021.

Naturally, one might ask — why haven’t the Vikings talked to this guy yet then? Well, Evero was in the mix for the aforementioned head coaching jobs, and the Broncos gig was filled Tuesday by Vikings rival Sean Payton. Denver’s media has already begun to speculate that Vic Fangio — yes, the guy who used to be the head coach in Denver — could follow Payton back to the Broncos as defensive coordinator (Evero’s job).

And that would theoretically leave Evero looking for work.

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The Mile High Report reported Tuesday about Fangio, who many thought was a done deal to coach the Miami Dolphins defense in 2023, “The Miami Dolphins were rumored to be close to agreeing to terms with Fangio, but he pushed back to that and was ‘weighing his options.’ Many assumed he would be in play for the now-vacant 49ers defensive coordinator spot with DeMeco Ryans going to Houston, but they’re interviewing Steve Wilks for that position. So, it makes sense that Denver would be the opportunity he would be weighing.”

If Evero, 42, eventually ventures to the Vikings, the purple defense should be in good hands as Denver ranked ninth in the NFL per defensive EPA/Play in 2022 and 10th via DVOA.

Evero also worked as the defensive quality control coach for the Green Bay Packers in 2016.

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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