Vikings Make Brian Flores Happy with a Duck

Minnesota Vikings Head Coach Kevin O'Connell introduced new Defensive Coordinator Brian Flores from the TCO Performance Center on February 15th, 2023. Flores coached for the New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins, and Pittsburgh Steelers before joining the Vikings in 2023.

The Minnesota Vikings could have been in play for a couple of different Oregon Ducks during the draft. While they didn’t select quarterback Bo Nix and wide receiver Troy Franklin, who went to Denver with him, cornerback Khyree Jackson landed as a solid defensive addition.

Vikings Make Brian Flores Happy with a Duck

How the Vikings handled the middle rounds of the 2024 NFL Draft should largely shape expectations for what they do for the rest of free agency. Obviously, grabbing J.J. McCarthy and Dallas Turner in the first round cemented a couple of different positions, but needs were still present at guard, defensive tackle, and cornerback.

brian flores
Craig Strobeck-USA TODAY Sports

With their first pick in the 4th round, Minnesota grabbed Oregon’s Khyree Jackson. A long and athletic cornerback that has plenty of experience blitzing the opposition is something that Brian Flores can do more with. Needing to generate a better amount of depth in the room as a whole, Jackson immediately brings intrigue to the table.

Going with an edge rusher in their second pick of the first round stood to reason that Minnesota would look at cornerback later in the draft. Byron Murphy Jr. is the returning veteran starter, and while Minnesota signed Shaq Griffin this offseason, the group as a whole remains uncertain. Akayleb Evans, Mekhi Blackmon, and Andrew Booth Jr. are some of the revolving doors when it comes to who will step up and solidify the answer that needs to happen.

Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

With Xavien Howard remaining available on the open market, the Vikings could allocate some of their remaining salary cap space to the former Brian Flores talent. The Miami Dolphins jettisoned Howard, and now fully healthy, he should be expected to have plenty left in the tank.

By selecting Jackson with a 4th round pick, Howard isn’t immediately off the table, but his addition becomes less of a need.

brian flores
Alabama defensive back Khyree Jackson (6) on the sidelines after a timeout during a game between Tennessee and Alabama in Neyland Stadium on Oct. 15, 2022. Syndication The Knoxville News Sentinel

Oregon may not be synonymous with the most prestigious defensive outfits, but Dan Lanning has helped turn the page for a program looking for a more complete identity. Jackson is definitely someone who should be expected to contribute at the next level, and rising to the talent level of players taken well before him in the draft would not be at all surprising.

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.