Brian Flores’ Status with Vikings Took a Turn on Friday

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 NFL coaching carousel has only just begun to fill jobs, as the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers, Seattle Seahawks, Tennessee Titans, and Washington Commanders have open HC gigs as of January 11th.

Brian Flores’ Status with Vikings Took a Turn on Friday

One job, however, was crossed off the list Friday morning when the New England Patriots hired Jerod Mayo to take over for Bill Belichick.

with Vikings Took
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted, “It’s a new era in New England: the Patriots have hired Jerod Mayo as their next head coach and he will be formally introduced at a press conference next week, a source tells ESPN.”

Written in Mayo’s preexisting contract was the affirmation that he would take over for Belichick when the time arrived, and nobody outside the Patriots organization knew it. So, in a spot where many thought some suspense might build, there was none. It was Mayo’s destiny all along.

Why the Vikings Would
Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Translation for the Minnesota Vikings? Defensive coordinator Brian Flores is substantially more likely to conduct Year No. 2 in the Twin Cities. The only job inside this carousel with ties to Flores was New England, and that franchise didn’t even hold interviews like the seven other organizations.

In theory, Flores could still chat with the Seahawks or Chargers, for example, about a head coaching job, but no such discussions have materialized as of Friday morning.

Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports.

Flores turned Minnesota’s defense around in a single season from a 30th in the NFL points-allowed ranking in 2022 to 13th via the same metric in 2023. Although not totally consistent, the Vikings’ defense markedly improved during Flores’ maiden voyage, so much so that it ranked tops in the NFL from Weeks 4 through 14 per EPA/Play, a metric measuring expected wins added.

And defensive continuity will be crucial for Minnesota’s defense in 2024. The club will add new players in free agency and the draft, but the scheme is on tap to stay consistent, which would’ve been vanquished had Flores interviewed and accepted the top job in New England.

Flores spent 15 seasons with the Patriots, holding these jobs: scouting assistant, draft scout, special teams assistant, assistant special teams coach, defensive assistant, safeties coach, and linebackers coach. It would’ve made all the sense in the world for Flores to audition for the Patriots’ position, but Mayo ensured no one had a chance.

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

New England finished 4-13 in 2023, its worst record since 1992.

Based on organizational stability, Flores could toss his hat in the ring for a Seahawks interview, although that is merely speculative at the time of this article’s publication.

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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