Brian Flores Earns PFF Tip of the Cap

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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.

For 14 years, Brian Flores worked in Bill Belichick’s system with the New England Patriots. Then, he spent three seasons as head coach of the Miami Dolphins, followed by a brief stop as the Pittsburgh Steelers linebackers coach in 2022.

Now, he’s the Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator.

Brian Flores Earns PFF Tip of the Cap

Flores takes over for the outgoing Ed Donatell, who defensively coordinated the Vikings for one season. Minnesota’s defense ranked 30th in points allowed in 2022, somehow won 13 games anyway, and took home its first NFC North crown in five years.

Brian Flores Earns
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports.

And when Flores arrives on the sidelines in 10 weeks against the Tampa Bay Buccanneers in Week 1, he’ll evidently already be a Top 10 defensive coordinator, according to Pro Football Focus. The popular NFL site ranked all the league’s DCs last week, and Flores checked in at No. 7.

Oddly, 2023 will be Flores’ first season as a defensive coordinator anywhere.

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

PFF’s Trevor Sikkema explained the Flores ranking from a statistical standpoint, “After spending the 2022 season as the linebackers coach in Pittsburgh, Flores will return to a featured coaching role, this time as defensive coordinator with the Minnesota Vikings. Before his time with the Steelers, Flores was head coach of the Dolphins.”

“In his first season, they ranked dead last in points per game allowed (30.9). In his second season, they jumped all the way to fourth (21.1). In his final season, Miami fell to 15th, but their average stayed true at 21.9 points allowed per game. The Dolphins placed sixth in the league in expected points allowed per play in those final two seasons with Flores at the helm,” Sikkema wrote about Flores.

Flores was sandwiched between Raheem Morris (Rams, No. 6) and Ejiro Evero (Panthers, No.8) per PFF. Evero was reportedly in the mix for the Vikings defensive coordinator job, too, in January and February before Minnesota landed on Flores.

Vikings Have 2023 Defensive
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports.

The new defensive bossman will usher in an era of aggression on defense this season after the Vikings weirdly embraced a system sometimes described as ‘soft’ in 2022. Flores told reporters at his introductory press conference in February, “I’m aggressive by nature.”

Flores will also to attempt fix the Vikings defense on the fly without big names that departed in free agency. Eric Kendricks, Za’Darius Smith, Patrick Peterson, Dalvin Tomlinson, Duke Shelley, and Chandon Sullivan left this offseason, paving the way for youngsters like Brian Asamoah, Marcus Davenport, Byron Murphy, Khyiris Tonga, Andrew Booth, and Akayleb Evans to take over.

The School to Watch
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Bill Belichick (Patriots, No. 1), Lou Anarumo (Bengals, No. 2), and Vic Fangio (Broncos, No. 3) headlined Sikkema’s list.

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