Vikings request to interview Flores for defensive coordinator opening

The Vikings added their name to the list of teams interested in former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores to run their defense.

According to a source with knowledge of the situation, the team submitted a request to interview Flores, who's currently an associate head coach and linebackers coach for the Steelers. He interviewed with the Falcons for their defensive coordinator opening on Friday, and had spoken with the Browns about their defensive coordinator job on Jan. 12. He spent a year with Kevin O'Connell in New England, when the Vikings' head coach was the Patriots' backup quarterback and Flores was a special teams assistant for the team in 2008.

He went 24-25 in three seasons as the Dolphins' head coach, going 10-6 in 2020 and 9-8 in 2021. After the Dolphins fired him following the 2021 season, Flores, who is Black, filed a class-action lawsuit against the Dolphins, Giants and Broncos, alleging teams had engaged in racially discriminatory hiring practices for head coaches.

His lawsuit also accused Dolphins owner Stephen Ross of pressuring Flores to lose games so the team could obtain a higher draft pick, and fired him for his refusal to do so. Flores also alleged Ross had pressured him to tamper with a NFL quarterback employed by another team (later reported to be Tom Brady). After an NFL investigation, Ross was fined $1.5 million, and the Dolphins forfeited a 2023 first-round pick and 2024 third-rounder because of impermissible communications with Brady and Sean Payton.

Flores' Dolphins teams employed more man coverage than most teams in the NFL, which follows his upbringing in Bill Belichick's man-heavy defenses. Though Flores used a number of different coverage approaches in Miami, an emphasis on man coverage would represent a markedly different direction than the one the Vikings have used in recent years, especially under defensive coordinator Ed Donatell in 2022.

The Vikings fired Donatell on Thursday after one season in which the team finished 28th in the NFL in points allowed and 31st in yards.