E Point Perfect

The Vikings Must Be Waiting on the Cardinals


Arizona Cardinals team owner Michael Bidwill (left) and new general manager Monti Ossenfort (right) pose for a photo with one of the Cardinals helmets during a news conference at Dignity Health Arizona Cardinals Training Center in Tempe, on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023. © Alex Gould/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK.

About a week and a half ago, the Minnesota Vikings parted ways with 2022 defensive coordinator Ed Donatell after the team could not stop the New York Giants in the Wildcard Round of the playoffs.

Minnesota had an otherwise excellent season, tabulating a 13-4 record and an NFC North title for the first time in five years. Some semblance of defense — perhaps just average performance — versus the Giants likely would’ve propelled Kevin O’Connell’s team to Round 2 of the postseason.

The Vikings Must Be Waiting on the Cardinals

Following the Donatell decision, the Vikings interviewed Sean Desai (Seattle Seahawks), Brian Flores (Pittsburgh Steelers), Ryan Nielsen (New Orleans Saints), and Mike Pettine (Vikings) for the open coordinator position — and the position is unfilled as of Sunday, January 29th.

The Vikings Must Be Waiting
Jan 9, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores watches from the sideline during the second quarter against the New England Patriots at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Why? Well, the Vikings must be waiting on the Arizona Carindlas head coach search to render a verdict. Brian Flores, the former Miami Dolphins head coach turned Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker coach, is the running for the Arizona job, and some Vikings enthusiasts believe he’s the frontrunner for Minnesota’s DC gig.

Because if the Vikings are not waiting for Flores, then what is the hold-up? O’Connell could’ve already interviewed other possible candidates from remaining playoff teams or at least requested a chat when those teams’ seasons ended.

Vikings 2023 Super Bowl Odds
Jan 1, 2023; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell looks on during the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports.

Heading into Championship Sunday, an event won by the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC and Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC, Flores and ex-New Orleans Saints boss Sean Payton were considered the leading contenders for the Cardinals top job. Then, on Monday morning, Cardinals reporter Bo Brack tweeted, “With the reported requests of Cincy’s DC Lou Anarumo and OC Brian Callahan, Michael Bidwill remains true to his word of “casting a wide net” for the Arizona Cardinals head coaching search. Both impressive candidates & instrumental in the Bengals recent success.”

Jan 8, 2023; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo during the fourth quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at Paycor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports.

If one reads the chessboard here, it seems Minnesota is waiting to see if Flores is given the head coach gig in Arizona. Desai is readily available, Pettine is in-house, and Nielsen took the Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator position. Flores is the pivotal domino, meaning the Cardinals quest for their next bossman probably affects the Vikings defensive plans.

Therefore, the best strategy for Vikings fans is to follow the Cardinals next steps intently. The process won’t climax in the next couple of days as Anarumo and Callahan still have to chat with new Arizona GM Monti Ossenfort.

Of course, news of the Vikings hiring Desai, for example, could hit any minute, but that likely would’ve occurred in the last few days if Desai was “the guy.”

This thing appears to hinge on Flores — the candidate who Vikings fans have craved since the defensive coordinator search began.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.


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