2023 Vikings Coaching Candidate Fired after One Season

Vikings Will Learn a Lot
A Philadelphia Eagles fan in the first half at MetLife Stadium. © Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK.

The Minnesota Vikings should count their lucky stars for finding Brian Flores and presumably rolling with the man for a Year No. 2 in 2024.

2023 Vikings Coaching Candidate Fired after One Season

The new defensive coordinator arrangement didn’t work out swimmingly for every team, including heavy hitters like the Philadelphia Eagles. Philadelphia parted ways with Sean Desai last weekend, who was in the mix for the same job with the Vikings a year ago.

Candidate Fired
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NFL Network‘s Ian Rapoport tweeted Sunday, “Sources: Eagles coach Nick Sirianni has let go defensive coordinator Sean Desai, who lost play-calling duties late in the season. Desai is likely to be in the mix for other DC opportunities.”

Eagles fans rejoiced at the news of Desai’s departure, as the entire fanbase scapegoated the team’s coaches — not the players — for Philadelphia’s inexplicable and rapid demise in 2023. A Super Bowl runner-up last year, the Eagles once owned a 10-1 record this season and utterly faceplanted in the season’s final six games, culminating in an embarrassing and anemic defeat at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Wildcard Round of the postseason.

Vikings May Not Have Been as Locked Down as Stats Showed on Monday
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Now, the Eagles will start fresh on defense after presumably remaining on deck to retain head coach Nick Sirianni.

Philadelphia’s defense ranked third leaguewide per DVOA in 2022, probably why it sprinted to the Super Bowl against the Kansas City Chiefs with Jonathan Gannon as defensive coordinator. Then in 2023, with Desai in charge, the Eagles’ defense plunged to 29th per the same metric. Not ideal.

Vikings Coaching Candidate
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Desai, 40, began his coaching career at Temple University in 2006. Here’s his full resume to date:

  • Temple University: DEF & ST Coach (2006–2010)
  • University of Miami (FL): Assistant Director of Football Ops (2011)
  • Boston College: RB & ST Coordinator (2012)
  • Chicago Bears: DEF Quality Control Coach (2013–2018)
  • Chicago Bears: Safeties Coach (2019–2020)
  • Chicago Bears: DEF Coordinator (2021)
  • Seattle Seahawks: Associate HC / DEF Assistant (2022–present)
  • Philadelphia Eagles: Defensive Coordinator (2023)

The young defensive mind cannot be held solely accountable for NFL defenses since entering the league, but here’s a glimpse at his team’s performances via defensive DVOA:

  • 2013 (CHI) = 25th
  • 2014 (CHI) = 29th
  • 2015 (CHI) = 31st
  • 2016 (CHI) = 22nd
  • 2017 (CHI) = 14th
  • 2018 (CHI) = 1st
  • 2019 (CHI) = 10th
  • 2020 (CHI) = 8th
  • 2021 (CHI) = 13th
  • 2022 (SEA) = 21st

Desai interviewed for the Vikings defensive coordinator gig last January after the franchise cut ties with Ed Donatell. But the process took too long — Minnesota was waiting on Flores’ status with a head coach interview in Arizona — and Desai withdrew his name from contention.

Vikings Could Look Back
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The Cleveland Browns were interested in Desai in 2023 after firing defensive coordinator Joe Woods but ultimately plucked Jim Schwartz for DC duties. The Miami Dolphins have also requested an interview with Desai, as Mike McDaniel had a vacancy after terminating Josh Boyer one year ago. But Desai picked the Eagles and vice versa.

The decision didn’t work out as planned.

Desai is expected to be hired again before too long, probably as a position coach.

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 OverTheCap.com.