The Minnesota Vikings have hired Brian Flores as their new defensive coordinator, the team announced Monday, ending a monthlong search to replace the fired Ed Donatell.
Flores spent last season as the Pittsburgh Steelers' senior defensive assistant/linebackers coach after being fired as head coach by the Miami Dolphins following the 2021 season. He'll take over a defense that finished No. 31 in the NFL in yards allowed and is on the cusp of a significant personnel overhaul. He has a yearslong relationship with Vikings coach Kevin O'Connell, who was drafted by the New England Patriots as a quarterback in 2008 when Flores was a special teams assistant there.
After firing Donatell on Jan. 19, the Vikings quickly interviewed four candidates for the job: Ryan Nielsen, Sean Desai, Mike Pettine and Flores. Nielsen took the Atlanta Falcons' defensive coordinator job and Desai removed his name from consideration, but sources told ESPN all along that then-Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero was their top candidate.
Evero and O'Connell spent two years on the Los Angeles Rams' coaching staff in 2020 and '21, and O'Connell hoped to reunite in 2023. But on Sunday, one day after the Broncos released Evero from his contract, he agreed to terms with the Carolina Panthers to be their defensive coordinator without taking an interview with the Vikings.