I think we can all agree that the Minnesota Vikings defense we all had to witness last year was absolutely atrocious. In 2022, under defensive coordinator Ed Donatell, the Vikings struggled mightily. The 2022 Vikings defense allowed an average of 431 total yards per game, 142 yards rushing, and just under 290 yards passing per game all while allowing a massive 25 points per game.
Obviously, there is much to be improved on from last year. That’s why the Vikings had to bring in someone new, someone to bring a bit of spark to this defensive group. So they brought in a defensive-minded coach to become the new defensive coordinator, Brian Flores. Flores has a great NFL resume. Prior to becoming the new defensive coordinator for the Vikings, Flores was an assistant coach for Bill Belichick and the Patriots, then went on to be the head coach of the Miami Dolphins for 3 seasons, then was Pittsburgh’s defensive assistant and linebacker’s coach last year. Flores was also an assistant for the Patriots for 9 years before accepting his first head coaching job in his career with Miami. Flores then lead the Miami Dolphins to two consecutive winning seasons which is something that the franchise hadn’t witnessed since 2002-2003.
Known for his aggressive defensive play calling, Flores plans on bringing a whole new look to the Minnesota defense. In hopes of applying pressure to the quarterback and limiting the amount of time he will have to throw, Flores is going to bring the heat. Flores loves to play man-press coverage and most of the time will send extra help whether that be in the form of a linebacker coming through the middle, a safety dropped into the box to fit a gap, or even blitz a nickel corner.
With this aggressive scheme, Flores needs players that fit his mold. So what did we do? We bring in some of the best man covering corners in the draft and free agency in Mekhi Blackmon from USC and Byron Murphy from the Arizona Cardinals. The Vikings will also have a young, deep core of defensive backs returning from last year as Akayleb Evans, Andrew Booth Jr, and Lewis Cine, who all suffered from injuries, are looking to bounce back this year.
If the Vikings are able to retain superstar pass-rusher, Danielle Hunter, this Vikings defense could be sneaky good. Without him, the Vikings would have a bigger gap to fill and would need some help on the defensive line. Without Hunter, the Vikings would trot out Dean Lowry, Marcus Davenport, Harrison Phillips, and DJ Wonnum. Not exactly the group we would like to see out there on Sundays, especially when rushing the passer is an essential part of winning football games.
Even if the team doesn’t get a deal done for Danielle Hunter, I have to believe the Vikings would at least try to bring in some veteran help for the defensive line group. I see a guy, a former Viking nonetheless, Yanick Ngakoue being someone who could come back and contribute to this defensive line group.