What If Vikings Just Give Brian Flores Everything?

Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

When the NFL Draft comes around this spring, the Minnesota Vikings will decide what to do with the 11th overall pick. Trading up, trading down, and several positions have been discussed. A new quarterback remains a key focus for the offseason, but what if the front office just leans into their defensive coordinator?

What If Vikings Just Give Brian Flores Everything?

Brian Flores taking over for Ed Donatell last offseason may have been the greatest acquisition for the Purple People Eaters. Going from an absolutely abysmal unit that was poorly coached and underutilized to something that poses a threat and shows an upside was nice to see. The expectation heading into this offseason should have been that Flores would be on his way out. He has previously coached at the highest level, and a handful of jobs opened their seats. He stayed put, though, and without knowing what the future may look like, doesn’t utilizing his talents for as long as he’s here make sense?

Just Give Brian Flores
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.

Last season saw plenty of players take sizable steps forward under Flores. Ivan Pace Jr. was an undrafted commodity who became a defense leader, and Josh Mettellus deserved a Pro Bowl spot. Cam Bynum stepped up as another safety option, and a questionable cornerback room showed some real promise. Flores put guys in a position to succeed, and he had the entire unit working with their ears pinned back to stop opposing offenses.

Mock draft season has been underway for a bit now, and while the Vikings were linked heavily to quarterbacks early, some of that steam seems to have cooled. Targeting cornerbacks and edge rushers, there is a consensus on the weak spots in Minnesota’s defensive unit. Those get worse without the return of Danielle Hunter or the continued growth of players like Akayleb Evans and Andrew Booth Jr. Should the Vikings pass on the opportunity to grab a quarterback, they could lean into a defense-only strategy with their first handful of picks.

from Vikings End
Kwesi Adofo-Mensah & Kevin O’Connell Talk Free Agent Moves, Future at Quarterback & 2023 NFL Draft in Eagan, Minnesota, on April 13th, 2023. Adofo-Mensah and O’Connell joined the organization in January and February 2022, respectively.

The Vikings don’t have a third-round selection, but after their 11th and 42nd overall picks, they have two selections in each of the fourth, fifth, and sixth rounds. Trading down from the 11th spot could grab them additional ammo, or packaging a couple of later selections may help to grab something in the third round. Utilizing the first two or three picks to grab assets on the defensive side of the ball would beef up that unit, and while it leaves questions under center, the rest of the offense is largely set.

The Vikings becoming a more well-rounded team could establish a stronger positioning for a bridge or prospect quarterback. Inserting someone to take over for Kirk Cousins without having to do everything is an enviable place to be.

Domino Quietly
Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores chatting with Tatum Everett on February 15th, 2023. The Vikings hired Flores from the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he was a linebackers coach for one season.

Building a stout defensive corps doesn’t help the offensive mind of Kevin O’Connell, but his personnel and personal acumen may be enough to overcome what shortcomings would pop up on that side of the ball. 

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.