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Why Isn't Vikings' Brian Flores Getting Head Coach Interviews?

So far, still nothing for Flores in terms of interviews for head coach vacancies.
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It's been almost two full weeks since the NFL regular season came to a close. Each of the seven teams with head coaching vacancies are fully in the swing of interviewing candidates — one opening has already been filled with the Patriots hiring Jerod Mayo — and Brian Flores' name still hasn't come up a single time.

After leading a remarkably impressive turnaround in his first season as the Vikings' defensive coordinator, Flores figured to be in the mix for a head coaching gig this month. Not only has he established himself as an outstanding defensive mind, he has three years of experience running a team from his time as the Dolphins' HC.

There were and are, of course, some complicating factors with Flores' candidacy. The most notable of those is that he filed a lawsuit against the NFL in 2022 alleging systemic discrimination in hiring practices (a lawsuit that remains unsettled). The other, less concrete one has to do with his reportedly shaky relationship with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa during their time together in Miami.

Those two things, particularly the lawsuit, made it unclear if Flores would land a head coaching job this offseason, even after his excellent year in Minnesota. But for him to not even have one single interview at this point in time is nothing short of stunning.

ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio wonders if this might even lead to another Flores lawsuit.

The law prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who pursue legal rights under federal discrimination statutes. Good luck, however, getting your friendly neighborhood oligarch to overlook the decision of Flores to file suit against Big Shield.

An amazing number of non-lawyers think it’s perfectly fine for an employer to shun an employee who has dared to pursue his or her legal rights in court. It’s definitely not. In many cases, the retaliation lawsuit is easier to prove than the original one, because most people understand the natural inclination to not want to do business with an employee who is giving the employer the legal business.

The fact that Flores has been ignored when so many other candidates are getting interviews (many of whom have no head-coaching experience, unlike Flores) is concerning. Whether Flores and his lawyers challenge his failure to be considered remains to be seen.

SI's Albert Breer brings up a good point: In a time where teams often want to hire offensive-minded head coaches, Flores is one of many qualified defensive coaches who tend to get overlooked.

This is a market that has big-name options that’d be received by fan bases as home runs (Bill Belichick, Jim Harbaugh, Mike Vrabel). We’re also in an era when there’ll always be at least a percentage of owners who go to the market having already decided that they’re hiring an offensive coach.

So Flores is in a position similar to a lot of his peers that coach defense—part of a bottlenecked pipeline of guys who’ve been passed over again and again: Dallas’s Dan Quinn, the Rams’ Raheem Morris, Detroit’s Aaron Glenn, Baltimore’s Mike Macdonald, Cleveland’s Jim Schwartz, Kansas City’s Steve Spagnuolo, Las Vegas’s Pat Graham, Denver’s Vance Joseph, Tampa Bay’s Larry Foote and San Francisco’s Steve Wilks all merit a look.

Now, try to run off big names on offense. You can’t. Because year after year, those ranks have been picked clean to the point where it’s actually tough to find many that you’d stack up against all of those defensive coaches I listed. And, so, that’s part of what Flores is up against.

You know what else that logjam does? It makes it easier for an owner who may not be good with Flores’s decision to sue the league to dismiss him. Which stinks, of course, because Flores has done a good job in Minnesota. Plus, he’s had a chance to learn from his failures with the Miami Dolphins working under Mike Tomlin with the Pittsburgh Steelers and now Kevin O’Connell with the Minnesota Vikings.

Barring a sudden (and seemingly unlikely) change, it looks like Flores will be back for a second season as the Vikings' defensive coordinator in 2024. That's great news for Minnesota, but the fact that someone with his qualifications hasn't even gotten any interviews is an ugly look for the NFL.

Brian Flores

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