The Vikings have made a move they hope fixes their defensive woes.
Minnesota is set to hire Steelers linebackers coach/senior defensive assistant Brian Flores as its new defensive coordinator, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday, per a sources. The team has since announced the news.
Flores brings head coaching experience to the position thanks to his three years in charge of the Miami Dolphins from 2019-2021. While there, Flores took a team that went 5-11 and ranked 32nd in points allowed during his first season to sixth in points allowed in 2020 and 16th in 2021, with a combined 19-14 record over those two years.
Despite a 10-win season in his sophomore campaign with Miami, the Dolphins narrowly missed the postseason. He was dismissed after another near miss to the following year.
Prior to Miami, Flores spent 15 years under Bill Belichick's tutelage in New England, where he began as a scouting assistant and rose through the ranks to coach the Patriots' safeties from 2012-15 and linebackers from 2016-18.
Flores' one-year stint in 2022 with Pittsburgh as a linebackers coach and senior defensive assistant came after he filed a lawsuit against the Dolphins, Broncos and Giants during last offseason for discriminatory hiring and firing practices.
His history and his continued success with the Steelers made him a popular name throughout the recent hiring cycle. Flores interviewed with the Cardinals for their head coaching position, as well as with the Falcons, Browns and Broncos as a potential DC before accepting the Minnesota job.
His task will be a tall one. The Vikings haven't ranked better than 24th in points allowed or 27th in yards allowed in any of the last three seasons. The unit gave up an average of 28.7 points per game in its final seven contests, including playoffs.
Those shortcomings down the stretch and in a crucial wild-card matchup against the Giants proved too much to overcome for an offense with its best combined ranking in points (8th) and yards (7th) since 2009.
The Vikings brass is putting its trust in Flores to close the gap on the other side of the ball and give Minnesota a more balanced opportunity to win.