Vikings Could Lose Brian Flores after All

Flores Flourish
Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

In the last few days, the football world was rocked by departures involving Mike Vrabel from the Tennessee Titans, Pete Carroll from the Seattle Seahawks, and Nick Saban from the University of Alabama.

Then, Thursday morning hit, and Bill Belichick joined the exodus circuit, reportedly leaving the New England Patriots after 24 years.

Vikings Could Lose Brian Flores after All

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted, “The Patriots are moving on and so is the greatest coach of all time. Bill Belichick won’t be New England’s coach in 2024, per me and Tom Pelissero, as his celebrated 24-year tenure, one that included 6 Super Bowl wins, is over. A new era awaits.”

Could Lose 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.

And that’s where — if he leaves Minnesota at all — Brian Flores could end up. Flores spent 15 seasons in New England, a substantial amount for anybody, anywhere.

Of course, Vrabel may be more coveted — his coaching resume to date is more successful than Flores’ — but Flores cannot be ruled out for an interview with Patriots owner Robert Kraft. In fact, Flores would be a magnificent long-term option to lead the post-Belichick era.

Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

ESPN’s Dan Graziano confirmed the Flores-to-Patriots theory soon after Thursday’s Belichick news: “Expect to hear the Falcons and Commanders discussed as most likely Belichick landing spots in the coming days. Expect to hear Jerod Mayo, Mike Vrabel and Brian Flores as most likely Belichick successors in New England.”

So, it has begun.

1 Primary Position
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.

Curiously, Flores has not been linked to any head coach vacancies via interview request or rumor mill since Monday, so reports over the last month that he’ll be choosy about his next head coaching gig appear correct. However, if New England had serious interest, Flores would almost certainly chat about the top job with the Patriots.

From 2004 to 2018, Flores served as a scouting assistant, draft scout, special teams assistant, assistant special teams coach, defensive assistant, safeties coach, and linebackers coach in New England. He took the big job in 2019 for the Dolphins, a relationship marred and ended by controversy after the 2021 season. Flores then took over for a season as the Pittsburgh Steelers’ linebackers coach before landing with the Vikings as defensive coordinator in 2023.

Minnesota’s defense was plagued by porousness in 2022 under Ed Donatell, ranking 30th in points allowed and 31st in yards allowed. Under Flores for one season, the Vikings ranked 13th in points allowed and 16th in yards allowed in 2023 — a superb improvement.

Tennessee Titans Head Coach Mike Vrabel reacts to a Titans penalty against the Seattle Seahawks during their game at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn., Sunday, Dec. 24, 2023. © Denny Simmons / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Flores told reporters last month about his future, “My message to our guys yesterday was we’ve got 35 guaranteed days. That’s all we got that’s guaranteed. I asked them to put everything into these 35 days.”

Now, those 35 days are over, and the team that brought him into the league cut ties with its legendary coach.

Flores in New England would make all the sense in the world, especially if Mike Vrabel doesn’t earn the job.

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).

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