Young Vikings LB Pretty Stoked about New Setup

It's Officially Brian Asamoah Time
Dec 4, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Brian Asamoah II (33) leaps over the celebration pile late during the fourth quarter after an interception by safety Camryn Bynum (24) off New York Jets quarterback Mike White (5) sealed the victory at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

It’s a Brian thing.

Second-year linebacker Brian Asamoah is acclimating to new defensive coordinator Brian Flores’ system, and one Brian is learning a lot from the other Brian.

Young Vikings LB Pretty Stoked about New Setup

The player Brian, Mr. Asamoah, is tentatively on deck to start in 2023 after the offseason departure of Eric Kendricks to the Los Angeles Chargers. The Vikings released Kendricks right before the start of free agency, and he latched onto the Chargers soon after, a team that plays adjacent to Kendricks’ college stomping grounds (UCLA).

Vikings LB Pretty
Sep 25, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Brian Asamoah II (33) in action against the Detroit Lions during the game at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

And as Asamoah presumably rises to power in Kendricks’ stead, he’s ecstatic about Flores’ regime. The Oklahoma alumnus recently stated about the new happenings with the Vikings defense, “I’ve learned a lot of football in the last two months, more than I feel like I ever have before.”

The Vikings won the NFC North in 2022 for the first time in five years on the back of a 13-4 record but also showcased the NFL’s third-worst defense per points allowed. Accordingly, head coach Kevin O’Connell dismissed 2022 defensive coordinator Ed Donatell four days after an early playoff exit against the New York Giants. Flores came aboard as Donatell’s replacement in February.

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.

On Asamoah’s learning alongside Flores, well, the relationship checks out. Asamoah was lauded coming out of college for his freakish athletic tendencies, and Flores adores freakishly athletic talent. That match seems like it was paired in Valhalla.

During Donatell’s brief tenure, Minnesota frequently played ‘shell coverage’ in the secondary and outwardly endorsed a ‘bend but don’t break’ defense. More often than not, the ‘bend but don’t break’ system devolved into ‘bend but then also break.’

Nov 6, 2022; Landover, Maryland, USA; Washington Commanders running back Antonio Gibson (24) is tackled by Minnesota Vikings linebacker Brian Asamoah II (33) during the second quarter at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports.

With Flores in the saddle, the Vikings are on tap to embody aggression and a blitz-happy lifestyle. It felt like Christmas morning in 2022 when the Vikings actually dialed up a blitz. On paper, Donatell and Flores are about as philosophically similar as Marjorie Taylor Greene and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, so change is afoot.

Meanwhile, as that change emerges, Asamoah is an oft-mentioned nominee to nibble at stardom.

In May, Bleacher Report’s Alex Ballentine labeled one player from every team a ‘best-kept secret, and Asamoah had the scepter for Minnesota. “The Vikings obviously have some faith that Asamoah will be able to step into a starting role this season. They released Kendricks and only signed Troy Reeder, a soon-to-be 29-year-old who was a reserve linebacker for the Chargers last year, to replace him. Asamoah is going to get every opportunity to take a starting role, and he flashed the ability to be an asset for the Vikings defense last season,” Ballentine wrote.

Late-Round Vikings Picks Proving Draft Worth
Brian Asamoah catches a pass during the University of Oklahoma Sooners football Pro Day inside the Everest Training Center in Norman, Okla., Wednesday, March 9, 2022. Ou Football Pro Day. © BRYAN TERRY/THE OKLAHOMAN / USA TODAY NETWORK.

For those keeping score at home, that’s a young linebacker learning gobs of football intel from a new coach, that coach acting as a serious change of pace from his predecessor, and football heads calling for the young linebacker’s ascension.

Vikings training camp kicks off in about five weeks.

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