One Vikings Coach Has Bad Blood with Bengals

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Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores formerly head-coached the Miami Dolphins. And it was during that stretch he encountered his most infamous transaction to date.

One Vikings Coach Has Bad Blood with Bengals

The altercation occurred in 2020 in a game against the Cincinnati Bengals, and after the game, cooler heads prevailed, and most parties involved apologized.

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It happened on December 6th, 2020 — so nearly three years ago to the day — at Hard Rock Stadium. The game had turned contentious already, but a big hit on punt returner Jakeem Grant kickstarted a brawl. That’s not totally foreign in the NFL, but Flores, the team’s leader, was right in the mix.

That’s the broad aerial view of the fracas, and Miami later won the Week 14 meeting by a score of 19-7.

Brian Flores Weighs
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Here was a segment of Flores’ standalone participation.

After the win, Flores backtracked and apologized for his role in the skirmish. In fact, by the time the postgame press conference shook down, Flores was a changed man and returned to head coach mode, not an instigator or brawler.

“My emotions got the best of me. I can’t do anything to hurt the team,” he told reporters.

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A quarrel or anything close to it is unlikely to transpire when the Vikings travel to Cincinnati for a date with the same Bengals. Zac Taylor was the Bengals’ coach in 2020 and holds the same title today, but the team has undergone significant roster turnover. Joe Burrow was a rookie when the scuffle took place, and he won’t be on the field this Saturday. Instead, Minnesota will face one of its own, former Vikings quarterback Jake Browning.

Meanwhile, Flores has utterly transformed the Vikings’ defense in one season. Last year, Minnesota ranked 24th per defensive DVOA; the ranking has climbed to fifth in 2023 under Flores. The defense also hasn’t allowed a touchdown in 8 quarters, blanking the Las Vegas Raiders entirely last weekend and holding the Chicago Bears touchdown-less in Week 12 despite losing 12-10.

Coach Has Bad Blood
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And Minnesota needs all the help it can get. In late October, quarterback Kirk Cousins was lost for the season — in the middle of Justin Jefferson’s seven-game injury absence — so, unbeknownst to anyone, the Vikings morphed into a defense-first operation in the middle of the season. When Saturday’s game kicks off, Minnesota will start its fourth different starting quarterback of the season — Cousins, Jaren Hall, Joshua Dobbs, and now Nick Mullens.

Overall, Flores expressed regret about the 2020 melee, but this is the one team that truly ignited his nerves.

The Bengals are favored to win by three.

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).

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