After several interviews already, Brian Flores remains a Pittsburgh Steeler. But there’s no guarantee he stays that way by the time the offseason ends. In fact, Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer reports the Minnesota Vikings are high on Flores to be their next defensive coordinator, their #2 choice only behind Denver’s Ejiro Evero. And as Breer points out, Evero doesn’t currently have an interview scheduled with Minnesota.
The Broncos haven’t given Evero permission to interview for other DC jobs. Per NFL rules, teams can block interview requests if they are lateral moves like going from DC with one team to interview as the DC of another. They can’t block upward mobility, they couldn’t block Evero from a head coach interview, for example, but he’s still under contract in Denver and new head coach Sean Payton can deny him the chance to interview for other coordinator gigs if he chooses.
Still, it seems like a morally dubious thing to do especially as the Broncos potentially replace Evero. Flores is one name who will interview for the Broncos’ DC job as Payton determines his coaching staff.
So far, Flores has been passed over for the Cleveland Browns and Atlanta Falcons’ DC jobs. As of now, he’s interviewed to be the Arizona Cardinals’ head coach, has interviewed for the Minnesota Vikings’ DC spot, while the Broncos have requested an interview for the same role. For a time, Flores seemed to be the heavy-favorite for the Cardinals’ job and he may still get it. But the fact the Cardinals’ search has continued is a sign Flores isn’t the favorite some in the media thought he was.
Which leaves the two possible coordinator jobs. Per Breer, if Evero can’t receive permission to interview outside the organization, the Vikings could jump to hire Flores. There is a connection between Minnesota head coach Kevin O’Connell and Flores, the two in the Patriots’ organization in 2008.
With most coaching staffs being put in place, Arizona and Indianapolis the only holdouts, things figure to move pretty quickly over the next week. Perhaps in one week we’ll finally know where Flores is going. Or isn’t going and if he’ll somehow end up staying in Pittsburgh for at least another season.
UPDATE (5:35 PM)
Per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Broncos are letting Evero out of his contract, meaning he can and almost certainly will interview with the Vikings to be their DC. Assuming he doesn’t get the head coaching gig in Arizona, he appears to be the favorite for the Minnesota job.