Kevin O'Connell is bringing in an experienced assistant to take over his defense, as the Minnesota Vikings have hired Brian Flores as their new defensive coordinator, the team announced Monday. Flores spent the 2022 campaign as the linebackers coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and was a popular candidate this coaching cycle.
Flores interviewed for the Arizona Cardinals' head coaching job and received interest from the Atlanta Falcons, Cleveland Browns and Denver Broncos to take over as a defensive coordinator. Ultimately, Flores lands in Minnesota, which had the second-worst defense last season in terms of total yards allowed per game (388.7).
Flores established himself as a top defensive assistant in 11 years with the New England Patriots. Prior to working under Mike Tomlin in Pittsburgh this past season, Flores served as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins for three seasons before being fired last year after going 24-25. It was a dramatic fallout, as Flores actually sued the NFL along with the Dolphins, Broncos and New York Giants, alleging racial discrimination.
Flores replaces Ed Donatell, who was a one-and-done with the Vikings. The straw that broke the camel's back was the Vikings' postseason loss to the Giants, as Minnesota's defense surrendered 31 points, 431 yards of total offense and allowed New York to average 6.3 yards per play.