Sean Payton Keeps Poking the Vikings

Vikings Rival Reportedly Wants
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings are searching for the right guy for their open defensive coordinator position. A couple of weeks ago, after the disappointing loss against the Giants in the wild-card round, the Vikings parted ways with their defensive coordinator Ed Donatell following one season with the club.

Four candidates have interviewed with the Vikings, and it appears that we know all the possible candidates at this point. The team met with former Saints co-defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen, but the Falcons hired him as the new defensive coordinator.

The next candidates are former Dolphins head coach and current Steelers linebackers coach Brian Flores and Seahawks associate head coach Sean Desai. In addition to the external candidates, Kevin O’Connell’s assistant head coach Mike Pettine interviewed for the job.

Sean Payton Keeps Poking the Vikings
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

A darkhorse candidate came onto the scene a few days ago when the Broncos decided to go all-in on Sean Payton as their head coach. Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero could be available if the team decides to go in a different direction at the DC job.

Sean Payton Keeps Poking the Vikings

Payton is something like the Anti-Vike. The fanbase of the purple team hates the former Saints head coach, for good reason. His involvement in the ‘bounty gate’ scandal is well-documented. In the 2017 playoffs, he mocked the Vikings before Case Keenum and Stefon Diggs combined for a magic moment.

However, the hatred is probably a two-way street because the Vikings eliminated his team in 2017 and 2019. Payton had loaded teams in both seasons and could have made a run at the Super Bowl. The championship window closed, and Payton left New Orleans with only one ring.

Chuck Cook -USA TODAY Sports.

After all these years, it appears he found a way to stick it to the Vikings. At first, it was rumored that Vic Fangio would join his staff, but he took the DC job in Miami. Reports surfaced Thursday that Payton is talking to Evero about the position.

Of course, the Vikings could hire one of the other candidates. On Friday, however, new reports surfaced about Payton requesting interviews with both Flores and Desai.

The first instinct from a Vikings perspective is that he can’t hire more than one candidate. Unfortunately, a story came out about Payton intending to keep Evero and hiring another person.

Long story short, the Broncos have a defensive coordinator, Ejiro Evero, who the Vikings might like. In addition to him, the Broncos want another coach. The two known Broncos candidates, Brian Flores and Sean Desai are also on the Vikings’ shortlist.

The worst-case scenario for the Vikings at this point is if Flores takes the head coaching job in Arizona, Evero takes the head coaching job in Indianapolis, and Desai chooses the Broncos over the Vikings as DC.

Vikings May Have Potential DC Replacement Already in the Building
Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine is shown before their game against the Oakland Raiders Sunday, October 21, 2019 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, © Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal S, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via Imagn Content Services, LLC.

That would leave the Vikings with Mike Pettine as the only option, an uninspiring option, considering that he was on the staff with Ed Donatell, and if he had a solution on how to fix the defense, he would’ve done it already. The Vikings should fill their open position in the next couple of weeks, but it can happen at any point.

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