One Vikings Offseason Theory Was Correct

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When the Minnesota Vikings 2024 offseason began, many wondered if defensive coordinator Brian Flores would command head coaching attention in the league’s annual carousel.

One Vikings Offseason Theory Was Correct

But once the carousel began spinning, all things Flores hit radio silence.

vikings offseason
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.

Folks learned Tuesday that an offseason theory was correct: Flores was not considered for the big job around the league. After a shutout in the interview process, he’ll stay put in 2024 as the Vikings’ defensive coordinator.

Flores confirmed no interviews and explained, “I don’t really have control over that situation. I will say that I’m very happy where I am. It’s been a great offseason. I haven’t spent this much time with my family in a while.”

Coach Already a Hot
Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores takes over the team’s defense at an introductory press conference on February 15th, 2023, in Eagan, Minnesota.

He coached the Miami Dolphins from 2019 to 2021 but was fired before the start of 2022. Flores then sued the NFL for racial discrimination and claimed that the Dolphins’ ownership instructed him to intentionally lose games for better draft picks and tamper with other players.

“There’s no way to know. It’s not really something I’m spending a lot of time thinking about. I try to be where my feet are, and that’s here with the Vikings. I try not to worry about things I have no control over,” Flores said Tuesday when asked if his lawsuit affected the lack of head coaching interest.

The Vikings’ defense climbed from a 24th ranking per defensive DVOA in 2022 to 11th-best in 2023, thanks to Flores. Losing him would’ve forced Minnesota to start over on defense for a third consecutive year. The defense played absolutely phenomenally between Weeks 4 through 14, ranking tops in the league per EPA/Play, a metric adjudicating expected points added.

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports.

As Flores’ group ascended the NFL, folks took notice and began to whisper that he could easily be a one-hit-wonder for the Vikings. So, Vikings fans treasured what they had at the moment and bided time to determine if Flores would return to the head coaching ranks in 2024.

Then, nothing happened. Nothing at all. Tuesday’s press conference confirmed no interviews, and Flores will return in purple for a sequel.

Down the stretch of the 2023 season, the Flores defense tapered off, beginning in the 4th Quarter of a game at the Cincinnati Bengals. It never recovered. The Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers took turns whipping Minnesota’s defense, and the damage worked to the tune of the Vikings missing the postseason. Perhaps the defensive dip weakened Flores’ shine as a head coach because he did not interview for any HC jobs this cycle, even though eight jobs were available.

Just Give Brian Flores
Minnesota 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.

More likely, though, is the lawsuit angle dampening his leaguewide appeal. Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio opined on the Flores situation this week, “Flores surely knew the sacrifice he was making when he dared to do battle with Big Shield. It’s admirable that the Vikings gave him a defensive coordinator job. Their reward might be that he’ll be sticking around for a while, if the owners of other teams won’t risk getting the cold shoulder from Club Oligarch by hiring Flores to be the head coach.”

If Flores accepts a promotion elsewhere in the NFL next year, Minnesota will receive a compensatory draft pick in his absence.

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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