Don’t Overlook Brian Flores’ Connection With 3 Intriguing Free Agents

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings added some players to address most of the team’s weak spots. Jordan Addison is supposed to replace the departed wideout Adam Thielen and Marcus Davenport will occupy the spot of Za’Darius Smith (who will suit up for the Cleveland Browns in the 2023 campaign).

Don’t Overlook Brian Flores’ Connection With 3 Intriguing Free Agents

Despite the additions, there is still some uncertainty. A trio of free agents could help with the necessary defensive turnaround and all of them know defensive coordinator Brian Flores from their past.

Trey Flowers

The veteran pass rusher could be an excellent backup for Danielle Hunter and Marcus Davenport. Defensive line depth is crucial nowadays, as teams try to keep their top guys fresh and rotate a lot. In the case of a Hunter trade, Flowers could even provide starting-quality play.

3 Intriguing Free Agents
Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Flowers spent the first four seasons of his career with the New England Patriots, winning two Super Bowls. Brian Flores coached the linebackers in those years.

Flores joined the Dolphins as head coach in 2019, Flowers signed a huge deal with the Detroit Lions in the same offseason. The defender sacked opposing QBs 21 times between 2016-2018 and repeated those numbers by firing up 7 sacks in the first season with the Lions. Unfortunately, he has been slowed down by injuries in the last three seasons. In 2020 and 2021 in the NFC North and 2022 in Miami, Flowers logged only 3.5 sacks and he appeared in just 18 games, managing to play only 700 total snaps.

The outside linebacker could be a fantastic addition as he is a player who is familiar with the new Vikings scheme. However, his injury history has been quite a disaster. That should lead to a cheap contract but also require a huge bet on his health.

Kyle Van Noy

Another Patriots Super Bowl champion, Van Noy turned into a journeyman after departing from New England. He initially left the Patriots for an enormous paycheck in free agency, signing with the Dolphins in 2020 to join Flores, his old coach.

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

After the Dolphins released him one year into the contract, he re-signed with the Patriots in 2021 and joined the Chargers in 2022. Van Noy, obviously, wasn’t happy when the Dolphins released him and Flores was the head coach at that time. It is quite possible that there is some ill will.

Even still, Van Noy needs a new team and Flores could use an experienced and versatile veteran. The defender can play as a linebacker where he would be a real alternative in case Brian Asamoah isn’t ready for the bright lights. Van Noy could also line up as a pass rusher; Flores loves versatility and few players can provide that like Van Noy.

He recorded at least 5 sacks in four straight seasons and in five of the last six. The lowest total of 3.5 came in the season in which he had a career-high in tackles. Aged 32, Van Noy is a two-time Super Bowl champion. In the 2018 Super Bowl run, he sacked Patrick Mahomes and Jared Goff a combined three times in the final two games of the postseason.

Myles Jack

Another linebacker, Jack is a more classic off-ball linebacker instead of a hybrid like Van Noy but he could be signed for the same reasons. If Asamoah isn’t ready and the Vikings need someone to fill the gap for a few months or the full season, Jack could step in and be that guy.

Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

Jack came out of UCLA in 2016. He was a teammate of Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr and some Vikings fans dreamt about reuniting the gang but the Vikings instead drafted Laquon Treadwell. The linebacker spent the first six years of his career in Jacksonville and joined the Steelers in 2022 where he met new Vikings DC Flores, who was the LB coach there.

Jack played in 103 games and started 95 of them. He might have slowed down in recent years, but he still managed to log 13 starts in Mike Tomlin’s solid defense in 2022. Experience is a valuable asset, especially for a linebacker.

None of the three should be considered star additions but they bring experience and solid depth for a (likely) low price. The relationship with Flores would help during the negotiations and in the process of learning the scheme, especially since Flowers and Van Noy have played in a similar one.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt