Giants Might Poach a Vikings Coach

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The Vikings and their current and former coaches have had a tumultuous coach hiring cycle. Mike Zimmer might once again become the defensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys, Klint Kubiak is a Saint, and Leslie Frazier joins Mike Macdonald’s staff in Seattle. The one guy the league just casually passed over is Brian Flores, perhaps the one guy who deserved it the most.

Giants Might Poach a Vikings Coach

Flores is likely to stay but he might lose one of his top assistants. Defensive backs coach Daronte Jones is on the shortlist of the New York Giants for their defensive coordinator opening.

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The franchise interviewed the 45-year-old during the Senior Bowl according to Tom Pelissero: “The Giants interviewed Vikings DBs coach Daronte Jones for their defensive coordinator job, per source. The interview took place last week in Mobile, where Jones impressed as the National team’s defensive coordinator at the Senior Bowl.”

Jones was once a cornerback at Temple and Morgan State University but an injury forced an early retirement. He then started his coaching career in 2001 and has been a true journeyman in the coaching ranks with nine different teams in college and high school until he joined the Miami Dolphins in 2016 as the assistant defensive backs coach. In 2018, he was named Bengals cornerbacks coach for a couple of seasons before signing with the Vikings as Zimmer’s defensive backs coach.

Giants Might Poach a Vikings Coach
Daronte Jones

After one season, he left the organization to become the defensive coordinator at LSU. Head coach Brian Kelly didn’t retain him when he was hired in 2022 so Jones returned to Minnesota in the same role he previously held. One year later, in 2023, the Vikings changed his job description to defensive pass game coordinator.

Jones should certainly get some credit for the development of Josh Metellus and Camryn Bynum into excellent players. He also helped Akayleb Evans and Andrew Booth who both made a step forward in 2023.

New York Giants head coach Brian Daboll, right, and defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale on the sideline. The Giants defeated the Bengals, 25-22, in a preseason game at MetLife Stadium on August 21, 2022, in East Rutherford. NFL NY Giants Preseason Game Vs Bengals Bengals At Giants

New York’s job is vacant because Wink Martindale, one of the flashiest defensive coordinators in the business, resigned in January after two seasons in Brian Daboll’s staff. Similar to Flores. Martindale is one of the blitz-heaviest DCs in the NFL.

A bunch of candidates have already said no to the job. Ejiro Evero was requested to take an interview but the Carolina Panthers blocked the potential lateral move. Dennard Wilson, Ravens DB coach, is expected to join Tennessee’s coaching staff, and Bills LB coach Bobby Babich will remain in Buffalo.

Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator Shane Bowen waits for a referee’s call after Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel threw a challenge flag against the Carolina Panthers during their game at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn., Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023.

The Giants have met with some candidates but none of them are high-profile names. Their list includes Chiefs LB coach Brendan Daly, Dolphins LB coach Anthony Campanile, Chargers DC Derrick Ansley, and Titans DC Shane Bowen. Jerome Henderson is an internal candidate. He has been coaching the defensive backs in the organization since 2020.

It would be a big opportunity for Jones’ career and the Vikings can’t block his exit as it would be a promotion. However, they would surely miss a big part of their coaching staff. He was viewed as a potential internal successor in the case of a departing Flores.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt