Famed NFL Analyst Claims 180 for Vikings in 1 Area

Jan 8, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson (7) celebrates his interception with teammates during the second quarter against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports

Somehow, the 2022 Minnesota Vikings finished the season with a 13-4 record while surrendering 427 points to opponents — the third-worst mark in the NFL.

Famed NFL Analyst Claims’ 180′ for Vikings in 1 Area

The club eyes defensive improvement, evidenced by the early-offseason termination of 2022 defensive coordinator Ed Donatell and the hire of Brian Flores from the Pittsburgh Steelers as Donatell’s replacement.

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

Flores was the head coach of the Miami Dolphins for three seasons (2019-2021) before taking on a linebackers coach job in Pittsburgh (2022), and 2023 will be his first year as a defensive coordinator. And when Flores takes the reins this September, fans should reasonably expect a ‘180’ from the Vikings defense.

The change will, of course, be welcomed by everyone in the Vikings orbit because the group performed poorly in 2022. In addition to allowing the third-most points leaguewide, Minnesota also ranked 27th per defensive DVOA and 31st in yards allowed — not ideal for a Super Bowl-contending team.

The Vikings National
Nov 20, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell comes off the field after the second quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

NFL analyst Greg Cosell joined The Ross Tucker Podcast last weekend and explained the ‘180’ between Donatell and Flores, “The big change here is on defense. It’s going to be totally different. They’re going from Ed Donatell, who hardly ever blitzed and played a ton of split safety, to Brian Flores, who is going to blitz a lot and pressure you and play man coverage.”

The Vikings employed a bend-don’t-break defense in 2022, a system that quickly grew stale and was the object of fans’ scorn.

“That’s the way he plays. He’s going to attack and be proactive, not reactive,” Cosell added.

Vikings Probably Have 1 Full
Dec 15, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores talks with an assistant coach during the second half against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports.

This isn’t the first time Cosell mentioned the Vikings defensive shift this offseason. In May, Cosell joined The Xs and Os podcast and said, “You’re going to see schemed pressure, which you did not see at all under Ed Donatell. Nor did you see a lot of versatility on the back end in how they played. They did not play a ton of different coverage concepts. They played a ton of two-shell.”

“I hate to use the word soft because Ed Donatell would never think, ‘Oh, we played soft.’ But they didn’t do a lot of different things. My guess is, opposing offenses felt that they were not very difficult to scheme against,” Cosell continued.

Minnesota Vikings Defensive Coordinator Brian Flores addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center. Flores was hired in February 2023 to take over for Ed Donatel after Minnesota finished 30th in points allowed.

“They’ve got some questions in terms of personnel on defense, though. Especially at cornerback. We’ll see how Brian Flores feels about playing with a lot of pressure — which he likes to do; he’s an aggressive guy by nature — when your cornerbacks are unproven,” Cosell concluded a month ago.

It is undetermined if Flores’ defense will take off and improve right away in 2023, but if Cosell and others are correct, the defense will at least feel fundamentally different.

The Vikings host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1 on September 10th.

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,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.