Vikings’ Defense Ranking Is Less than Desirable

Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

In one year, defensive coordinator Brian Flores improved the Minnesota Vikings’ defense from a 24th ranking per DVOA in 2022 to 11th-best in the sport in 2023.

Vikings’ Defense Ranking Is Less than Desirable

The enhancement was noteworthy, and Flores’ resume from the Miami Dolphins days only shows the unit will get better.

Minnesota Defensive Coordinator B. 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.

But don’t tell that to Bleacher Report.

The sports-themed website ranked all NFL defenses about a week removed from the 2024 NFL Draft, and Minnesota’s checked in at No. 18 — also known as the 15th-worst in the business. Not horrible but certainly not good.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports.

BR’s scouting report noted on the purple defense, “The Vikings have done things in the offseason to give him better players to work with. Danielle Hunter will be missed, but Jonathan Greenard is younger and will replace a good portion of his production. Dallas Turner is a hand-in-glove fit with this scheme and signing Andrew Van Ginkel gives them a blitzer with experience in Flores’ system.”

For context, Minnesota’s defense was sandwiched between the Buffalo Bills at No. 17 and Cincinnati Bengals at No. 19, so at least the company proved decent.

Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports.

“A blitz that doesn’t get home makes life awfully tough for the secondary. If the sum of the parts they brought in is greater than the impact of Hunter, the pass should improve which will help the secondary. Essentially, there needs to be more synergy between the levels of the defense to take a step forward in 2024,” BR concluded about the VIkings’ 2024 defense.

General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah emphasized defensive personnel this offseason, onboarding the aforementioned Greenard and Van Ginkel right away when free agency began, plus off-ball linebacker Blake Cashman, an Eden Prairie native. Six weeks later, Adofo-Mensah used Round 1 of the draft to select Alabama pass rusher Dallas Turner, who was not commonly linked to Minnesota during the draft’s build-up. For the first time in about eight or nine seasons, the Vikings have credible EDGE depth, not just two impressive starting outside linebackers.

draft grade
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota also added cornerback Shaquill Griffin and defensive tackle Jerry Tillery, plus rookie cornerback Khyree Jackson from Oregon, this offseason.

Last year, Flores’ defense featured some duality. It ranked third-best in yards per rush allowed but also dead last in completion percentage allowed to opposing quarterbacks.

When Flores arrived in Miami during the 2019 season, his defense ranked dead last per EPA/Play. By the end of the following season, 2020, it climbed 25 spots to seventh-best leaguewide.

Still, Bleacher Report believes Flores’ group will be pretty mediocre this season.

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