It’s Official: Vikings Have 2023 Defensive Bossman

Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports

After two and a half weeks, the Minnesota Vikings “got their man,” reportedly hiring Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker coach Brian Flores for the open defensive coordinator job on Monday.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted the news, “The Vikings are set to hire Steelers senior defensive assistant and LBs coach Brian Flores as their new defensive coordinator. He impressed from the beginning and now lands in Minnesota with a task of improving their defense.”

Vikings Have 2023 Defensive
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings also interviewed Sean Desai (Seattle Seahawks), Ryan Nielsen (New Orleans Saints), and Mike Pettine (Vikings) as possible Donatell replacements. But Desai withdrew his name from the hat last week, pursuing the Denver Broncos defensive coordinator job, and Nielsen chose the Atlanta Falcons for a DC gig. Then, 2022 Broncos DC Ejiro Evero — who felt like the frontrunner for a few days — chose the Panthers for defensive coordinator responsibilities.

It’s Official: Vikings Have 2023 Defensive Bossman

Flores last coached for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2022, serving as the team’s linebackers coach and senior defensive assistant. And last year around this time, Flores was fired by the Dolphins, who apparently wanted to be done with Flores and move on to an offense-first head coach in Mike McDaniel. The termination was odd because Flores had restored the Dolphins to respectability, were trending in the right direction, and even beat the New England Patriots in the final game of 2021.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Flores then interviewed for the New York Giants head job. Brian Daboll was chosen instead, leading some to believe Flores was a “token interview” to placate the Rooney Rule. Flores sued the NFL accordingly. It’s also been speculated that the Dolphins asked Flores to “tank,” a strategy he rebuked.

This is Flores’ track record to date:

Brian Flores,
as Miami HC,
Defense NFL Ranking:


2019 = 32nd
2020 = 11th
2021 = 10th

2019 = 32nd
2020 = 7th
2021 = 8th

Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports.

VikingsTerritory polled Vikings fans on Twitter last week to gauge the temperature of public opinion, and Flores was the overwhelming favorite. A whopping 86.1% of fans want Flores in charge of directing traffic for the Vikings defense in September. Fans got their wish.

Flores spent 11 seasons in the Bill Belichick system with the Patriots before jumping to the big job in Miami. He’ll turn 42 in a few weeks.

The Vikings defense ranked 27th in the NFL per DVOA last year, 30th in points allowed, and 31st in yards allowed. The organization parted ways with 2022 defensive coordinator Ed Donatell four days after the Vikings lost to the New York Giants in the postseason.

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,’ and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by