EAGAN, Minn. – The Vikings have their new defensive coordinator.
Minnesota hired Brian Flores for the role, the team announced Monday.
Most recently, Flores spent the 2022 season as Senior Defensive Assistant/Linebackers Coach with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
He is reconnecting with Vikings Head Coach Kevin O'Connell nearly 15 years after the two overlapped in 2008 with the Patriots. At the time, Flores was transitioning from work in New England's pro scouting department to coaching, beginning as a special teams assistant when the Patriots drafted O'Connell, a quarterback, in the third round.
Here are five things to know about Flores:
1. Led to football by his uncle
Flores, the son of Honduran immigrants, was first introduced to football by his uncle Darrel Patterson. A Jets fan and firefighter, Patterson had been on medical leave undergoing cancer treatments during the Sept. 11 attacks but lost six colleagues at the World Trade Center.
According to a 2018 article by ESPN's Ian O'Connor, Patterson wanted to make sure Flores got out of the house and potentially share his uncle's love for football. He took a 12-year-old Flores and his two younger twin brothers to a Queens, New York, park used by a youth football league. O'Connor wrote:
"A coach there timed Flores in the 40-yard dash and couldn't believe the kid's speed. He pointed Flores toward a parked van and told him to go inside and pick out the equipment he wanted to use. The young Flores put his first pair of shoulder pads on backwards, and the rest is football history in a basketball town."
View photos of new Vikings Defensive Coordinator, Brian Flores. The team announced the hiring on Feb. 6, 2023.
2. Former Eagle
Prior to stepping into the coaching realm, Flores was a three-year letter winner as a linebacker at Boston College, where he started for the Eagles in his final two seasons.
He was part of four bowl-winning teams and was named to the 2003 Big East All-Academic Team. Flores suffered a torn quadriceps at the end of his senior season that interfered with any opportunity of being in an NFL camp.
3. Worked his way up
After his collegiate career, Flores aimed high and started looking immediately for NFL coaching jobs.
Flores said he wrote a letter to every NFL team looking for an opportunity, and one team – the Patriots – returned that letter.
"I knew that there had been some contact between Bill Belichick and [former BC Head Coach] Tom O'Brien, who had played for Bill's dad, Steve, a longtime assistant coach at the Naval Academy," Flores recalled in 2015. "I got the interview, and I guess I must have done a pretty good job with it, because I got a job with the Patriots as a scouting assistant.
"The job involved breaking down video tape, making copies for the coaching staff, and just doing a lot of the 'grunt work' in the office," he added. "Here I was with a master's degree from Boston College, and I was making $20,000 a year and getting coffee for people."
4. Made history
When Flores was hired as the Dolphins head coach in 2019, he made history in more ways than one.
At the time, he became one of the few Black head coaches in the NFL. But he also became just the fourth head coach of Latino ancestry in the league's history.
Flores followed in the footsteps of pioneers Tom Fears, who coached the New Orleans Saints in the 1970s, and Tom Flores, who won two Super Bowls as head coach of the Oakland Raiders in the early 1980s. Commanders Head Coach Ron Rivera also is of Latino descent.
5. Beyond the field
Education has always been a top priority for Flores.
He holds a bachelor's degree in English, in addition to a master's degree in administrative studies.
Flores also is a family man; he and his wife Jennifer have three children: sons Miles and Maxwell and daughter Liliana.