Vikings Rumors

2023 Offensive/Defensive Coordinator Search Tracker

As the head coaching carousel spins, many of the league’s offensive and defensive coordinator positions are open as well. Teams seeking new head coaches will soon begin OC and DC searches — some have already started those processes — but a handful of other teams that did not make HC changes are also searching for top assistants.

The Browns and Patriots have begun 2023’s coordinator hires. Here are the rest of the teams searching for new OCs and DCs. As new searches emerge, they will be added to the list.

Updated 1-26-23 (10:06pm CT)

Offensive Coordinators

Baltimore Ravens (Out: Greg Roman)

Los Angeles Chargers (Out: Joe Lombardi)

Los Angeles Rams (Out: Liam Coen)

New York Jets (Out: Mike LaFleur)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Out: Byron Leftwich)

Tennessee Titans (Out: Todd Downing)

Washington Commanders (Out: Scott Turner)

Defensive Coordinators

Atlanta Falcons (Out: Dean Pees)

Carolina Panthers 

Miami Dolphins (Out: Josh Boyer)

Minnesota Vikings (Out: Ed Donatell)

Vikings To Interview Brian Flores, Mike Pettine For DC

6:25pm: The Vikings announced on Twitter that they completed their interview with Pettine.

3:00pm: Like Frank Reich and Eric Bieniemy, Brian Flores is navigating an offseason that includes both head coach and coordinator interest. The Steelers assistant remains a frontrunner for the Cardinals’ HC job and has met with the Falcons about their DC post. More coordinator meetings are on the former HC’s docket.

The Vikings are set to interview Flores on Thursday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Minnesota is meeting with both Flores and Mike Pettine. The latter spent the season as an assistant on Kevin O’Connell‘s staff. Pettine, Flores, Seahawks assistant Sean Desai and Saints co-DC Ryan Nielsen comprise the Vikes’ search thus far.

The former Browns HC who provided an additional voice for the new Vikings staff this season, Pettine has been a coordinator for three teams — the Jets, Bills and Packers — and has 10 years of combined experience on the HC and DC levels. Pettine, 56, has been in the NFC North for the past five seasons, with a 2021 Bears stop bridging his path from Green Bay to Minnesota.

Green Bay’s defense ranked ninth and 13th in Pettine’s final two seasons but fell apart in a blowout NFC championship game loss in San Francisco and allowed Tampa Bay to mount a big lead in the first half of the ensuing NFC title tilt. Pettine has been a coordinator for four teams that ventured to the conference championship round, beginning that run under Rex Ryan with the 2009 and ’10 Jets. Pettine went 10-22 in Cleveland, though the first of his two seasons (2014) doubled as the best Browns campaign between 2007 and 2018.

Receiving Falcons and Vikings interview requests recently, Flores almost certainly will be on hold for DC gigs until the Cardinals make their HC decision. Arizona hiring ex-New England exec Monti Ossenfort as GM bodes well for Flores, who spent this season as Pittsburgh’s linebackers coach. Flores went 24-25 with the Dolphins, despite beginning that tenure with one of this century’s worst NFL rosters. Flores’ racial discrimination lawsuit against the NFL and a few of its teams is ongoing, but the ex-Bill Belichick lieutenant looks set to make a jump to either the coordinator level or receive a second HC chance soon.

Keenan McCardell On Buccaneers’ OC Radar

Keenan McCardell continues to generate interest on the offensive coordinator market, marking the first time the former Pro Bowl wide receiver has done so.

Following his Patriots OC interview, McCardell is set for a Buccaneers interview, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. The Pats went with their long-rumored favorite — Bill O’Brienfor their play-calling role, but the New England meeting was believed to be McCardell’s first for an OC post. The experienced wideouts coach will now make a trip for a second such interview.

Although McCardell has been coaching since 2010, he is best known for his playing career. That 17-season run included a memorable stay with the Bucs, who signed him in 2002. Teaming with Keyshawn Johnson on Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl-winning squad, McCardell proved a valuable addition. He caught two touchdowns in Super Bowl XXXVII and led the Bucs, who abruptly moved on from Johnson during the 2003 season, with 1,174 receiving yards the following year.

McCardell, 52, has been the Vikings’ wide receivers coach for the past two seasons, being kept on staff despite the franchise’s 2022 regime change. Given the play of Justin Jefferson and the development of K.J. Osborn, it is unsurprising the young playmakers’ position coach is being looked at for a possible title bump.

The Bucs now have McCardell, Jaguars passing-game coordinator Jim Bob Cooter and Broncos quarterbacks coach Klint Kubiak — who worked with McCardell on the 2021 Vikings’ staff — as candidates to replace Byron Leftwich.

Ravens Request OC Interview With Vikings’ Brian Angelichio

The Ravens continue to cast a wide net in search of their new offensive play caller. In addition to considering Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Robinson, Browns wide receivers coach Chad O’Shea, and Seahawks quarterbacks coach Dave Canales, Baltimore has requested to interview Vikings passing game coordinator and tight ends coach Brian Angelichio, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

Angelichio has been a tight ends coach in the league since 2012 when he followed Greg Schiano from Rutgers to the Buccaneers. Since then, he’s had some bad luck finding head coaches who have stayed in their jobs long term, bouncing around to Cleveland, Green Bay, Washington, and Carolina before his most recent position in Minnesota. Angelichio joined the Vikings’ staff this year with first-year head coach Kevin O’Connell, who granted him the new added moniker of passing game coordinator.

Angelichio has a few notable coaching performances on his resume. In 2015, he coached veteran tight end Gary Barnidge to a career 1,043-yard season in which he caught nine touchdowns. He’s also coached some of the NFL’s best recent tight ends, overseeing Jimmy Graham with the Packers as well as Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis in Washington. With Angelichio as passing game coordinator, the Vikings ranked fifth in the NFL in passing yards gained and tied for fourth in the league in passing touchdowns this year.

Angelichio has now had his name added to the ever-growing list of candidates to become the Ravens’ new offensive coordinator, alongside Robinson, O’Shea, and Canales. Fowler added that there are a number of other names he’s hearing as potential candidates including former Colts head coach Frank Reich, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, and former Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich.

In addition to the many outside candidates, the Ravens also have at least two in-house candidates in wide receivers coach Tee Martin and quarterbacks coach James Urban. Martin is a recent addition to the NFL coaching ranks, joining the Ravens in 2021 after years as a passing game coordinator and play caller for multiple Power 5 programs in college football. Urban has been with the team since 2018, coaching Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson since his rookie season. He’s never called plays, but he’s been in the NFL since 2004 and worked alongside Ravens head coach John Harbaugh for much of that time.

Baltimore is doing its due diligence with its search for a new offensive play caller. The team has doubled down on their intent to center the offense around Jackson, going as far as to allow him as much input into the coaching search as possible. Angelichio becomes one of many names for Jackson, Harbaugh, and company to consider.

CB Patrick Peterson Confirms Desire To Re-Sign With Vikings

Not much went right for the Vikings on defense this season, and the unit’s performance has already led to notable action in the form of defensive coordinator Ed Donatell being fired. The secondary in particular could see plenty of changes this offseason, but one constant could be another new deal for cornerback Patrick Peterson.

The 32-year-old had a productive second year in Minnesota, having signed a second consecutive one-year contract in the offseason. The value of the latter pact was half that of the first ($4MM as opposed to $8MM), and proved to be a worthwhile move on the team’s part. In November, Peterson made it clear that he intended on remaining with Minnesota and continuing his career for another three seasons.

The former first-rounder racked up five interceptions on the campaign, the second-highest total of his career. He added 15 pass defections, another figure which was reminiscent of his peak performances in Arizona. Those numbers came in addition to relatively solid coverage statistics and an impressive PFF grade of 80.7. To little surprise, Peterson is still interested in re-upping with the Vikings.

“I would love to be there in that purple and gold again and give it a run again just because I love the community there,” he said on the All Things Covered podcast which he co-hosts. “I love the organization. I love the new regime that [the Wilf ownership group has] brought into that building, the trainers, the strength and conditioning staff. It’s just amazing. I truly believe it felt like home for me. I felt like it was a place that I belonged. But we all know it’s a business” (h/t Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press).

The Vikings struggled across the board on defense, but their play through the air (surrendering an average of 266 yards per game, 31st in the league) will likely lead to a number of alterations being made via free agency and the draft. Minnesota is also in an unenviable financial situation with respect to their projected cap space, but if Peterson were to show a willingness to once again play on a short-term, low-cost deal, he could help the team try and rebound on the backend.

Vikings, Dolphins Request DC Interviews With Sean Desai

The Vikings and Dolphins are in need of a new defensive coordinator, and both clubs have requested interviews with Seahawks defensive assistant and associate head coach Sean Desai (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com). Desai was also a candidate for the Browns’ DC post that was recently filled by Jim Schwartz.

Minnesota enjoyed a 13-4 record in 2022, Kevin O’Connell‘s first year as head coach. However, the team’s defense was a sore spot all season, and after a wildcard-round loss to the Giants in which the Vikes struggled to slow New York quarterback Daniel Jones, defensive coordinator Ed Donatell received his walking papers. Minnesota subsequently requested an interview with Steelers senior defensive assistant/linebackers coach Brian Flores and also hopes to talk to Desai. In addition, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (via Twitter) that the Vikings have requested an interview with Saints co-DC Ryan Nielsen, who is expected to interview with the Falcons for the same position.

Like the Vikings, the Dolphins were bounced in last week’s wildcard round, giving up over 400 total yards in their loss to the Bills. The team’s defense finished the regular season in the middle of the pack in terms of yards allowed, but the unit dropped from 16th in points allowed in 2021 to 24th in 2022 while falling from 10th to 15th in DVOA. That drop-off cost defensive coordinator Josh Boyer his job, and in addition to Desai, the ‘Fins hope to talk with Vic Fangio about their DC vacancy.

Desai, 39, may not have Fangio’s track record, but he did work under the renowned defensive guru for a few years while both men were on the Bears’ staff, and he was named Chicago’s defensive coordinator in 2021. He found himself in need of new employment at the end of that campaign, as the Bears elected to part ways with head coach Matt Nagy & Co. In 2022, Desai ended up in Seattle under fellow ex-Fangio staffer Clint Hurtt.

Although the Bears were anxious to clean house after a disappointing end to the Nagy era, Desai’s defense did finish sixth in the league in yards allowed per game (316.7) in 2021, despite injuries to a number of key players. The Vikings — along with the Giants and Raiders — actually interviewed him for their DC post in last year’s cycle before opting to move forward with Donatell, and they are now giving him another look.

Vikings Express Support For Kirk Cousins As 2023 Starter

The Vikings’ early playoff exit came as a surprise to many given the team’s success in the regular season, and it has already led to the dismissal of defensive coordinator Ed Donatell. While plenty of questions remain for his former unit, the team’s offense has plenty of pieces in place to give them optimism for repeated success in 2023.

One key member of the offense, quarterback Kirk Cousins, is on the books for next year and received a vote of confidence from the team’s new power brokers at their season-ending press conference regarding his status heading into next year. The 34-year-old’s financial situation could change in the near future, but he is slated to remain at the top of the depth chart.

“It’s our expectation that he’ll be our quarterback,” general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said, via Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press“I can’t say exactly how [his contract status] would look. Again, we have everything at our disposal. We’ll consider all those things just like we would with everyone else on the roster

Cousins inked a one-year, $35MM extension last March to keep him signed for the 2023 campaign. The deal helped lower his cap hit dramatically, though the new figure ($31.42MM) still ranked third amongst all players this season. As a result of the new contract, Cousins is slated to count for $36.25MM against the cap in 2023, and another $12.5MM the following season through a void year.

The four-time Pro Bowler earned a second straight all-star game selection this season, one in which he threw for 4,547 yards (the second-highest total in his career), and 29 touchdowns. His play helped lead the team to a 13-4 record (including 11-0 in one-possession games), making the first season under head coach Kevin O’Connell a success.

The latter echoed Adofo-Mensah’s support of Cousins, saying he was impressed with his “ownership” of the team’s new offensive system. That will inevitably lead to expectations for a repeat of this season’s performance and efficiency on that side of the ball – the Vikings ranked top-10 in both scoring and total offense – with Cousins no doubt playing a large role in the unit’s level of play.

Of course, any moves Minnesota makes this offseason will come not only against the backdrop of Cousins’ deal, but also that of Justin Jefferson being eligible for an extension. Adofo-Mensah added that preliminary talks have taken place regarding what will no doubt be a monster deal for the star wideout. Regardless of the progress made on that front in the near future, both Jefferson and Cousins will be in place to lead Minnesota’s offense in 2023.

Chargers Request OC Interview With Vikings’ Jerrod Johnson

Joe Lombardi was handed his walking papers earlier this week, and the Chargers are eyeing an assistant QBs coach to fill the offensive coordinator vacancy. According to CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones (on Twitter), the Chargers have requested permission to interview Vikings coach Jerrod Johnson for their OC job.

[RELATED: Chargers Fire OC Joe Lombardi]

The former NFL journeyman got into coaching via a Bill Walsh Diversity coaching fellowship with the 49ers in 2017. He later spent three seasons with the Colts before earning the role of assistant quarterbacks coach with the Vikings in 2022.

Along with new head QBs coach Chris O’Hara, Johnson helped guide Kirk Cousins to one of his most successful NFL seasons. Cousins’ 4,547 passing yards were his most during his time with the Vikings, and while his touchdowns (29) were down and his interceptions (14) were up, the QB still played a major role in Minnesota’s 13-4 record.

This isn’t the Chargers’ first attempt to snag a Vikings offensive coach for the vacancy. The organization requested an interview with Vikings OC Wes Phillips, but the coach ultimately rejected the opportunity. Otherwise, Rams passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach Zac Robinson is a candidate for the position, and ESPN’s Chris Mortensen recently opined that Frank Reich would be a good fit for the job.

Vikings Request DC Interview With Brian Flores

We’ve got our first candidate for the Vikings defensive coordinator job. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter), the Vikings have requested permission to interview Steelers senior defensive assistant/linebackers coach Brian Flores for their defensive coordinator vacancy.

[RELATED: Vikings Fire DC Ed Donatell]

Flores has once again been a popular name this offseason. The 41-year-old interviewed for the Cardinals head coaching job (and was considered by some to be the favorite), and he’s also been connected to defensive coordinator openings with the Browns and Falcons. These interviews followed a 2022 campaign where Flores served as the Steelers linebackers coach.

Flores does have a minor connection to Minnesota, having overlapped with head coach Kevin O’Connell for a year in New England. The Vikings announced earlier this week that they would “be going in a different direction at defensive coordinator in 2023,” ending the tenure of defensive play-caller Ed Donatell. Several potential candidates have been mentioned for the opening, including Vikings assistant head coach Mike Pettine.

As our own Sam Robinson recently noted, Flores has never officially held the title of defensive coordinator; he was a position coach in New England while serving as the team’s unofficial DC following Matt Patricia’s exit to Detroit. Flores ended up winning four rings before getting a head coaching gig with the Dolphins in 2019. His tenure in Miami was shaky, culminating in a discrimination lawsuit following his surprise 2022 firing. Still, Flores was connected to a handful of head coaching openings last offseason, and following one year in Pittsburgh, he’s looking at a top coaching role for the 2023 campaign.