Vikings hire former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores as new defensive coordinator

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The Minnesota Vikings announced Monday that they have named Brian Flores defensive coordinator as the team turns to the former Miami Dolphins head coach to fix one of the NFL's most porous units in 2022.

Flores, who went 24-25 in three seasons with the Dolphins before being controversially fired following the 2021 campaign, spent this past season as a senior defensive assistant and linebackers coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The 41-year-old previously served 11 seasons on Bill Belichick’s staff with the New England Patriots before joining Miami in 2019. Flores was part of four Super Bowl-winning teams with New England and handled defensive play-calling duties in his final season there in 2018, helping the Pats to a 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl 53.

ESPN reported Sunday that Flores was one of three finalists, along with New York Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka and Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo, for the Arizona Cardinals head coaching position that remains unfilled. He also previously spoke with the Cleveland Browns and Atlanta Falcons for those teams' defensive coordinator openings.

Flores replaces Ed Donatell, who was fired shortly after Minnesota's 31-24 loss to the Giants in the opening round of the playoffs. The Vikings finished this past season 31st among the NFL's 32 teams in both total yards allowed and passing yards allowed and were tied for 28th in scoring defence after yielding 25.1 points per game.

In his lone season with the Steelers, Flores was part of a staff that helped the Steelers allow just seven rushing touchdowns – tied for the fewest in the NFL – and had the league’s sixth-lowest completion percentage against (61.3 per cent).

Flores, who is Black, still has a class-action lawsuit pending against the NFL alleging racial discrimination in its hiring practices following his dismissal by the Dolphins in January 2022.

The suit also alleged that the Giants and Denver Broncos interviewed Flores for open head coaching positions only to satisfy the league’s Rooney Rule that requires teams to interview minority candidates for such vacancies.