Top defensive coordinator could land with Vikings in 2023

(Photo by Jeff Bottari/Getty Images) Ejiro Evero
(Photo by Jeff Bottari/Getty Images) Ejiro Evero /

If the Minnesota Vikings are looking to move on from Ed Donatell in 2023, they could replace him with current Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero.

When Kevin O’Connell assembled his first coaching staff as the new head coach of the Minnesota Vikings last year, he went with Ed Donatell as his defensive coordinator, a longtime NFL assistant coach.

Unfortunately, Donatell’s first season with the Vikings has gone terribly, as the team’s defense ended Week 18 ranking 28th in the league in total points allowed and 31st in total yards allowed.

Once the 2022 campaign officially comes to an end for Minnesota, it would be wise for them to consider moving on from Donatell after just one season. Especially since there could be someone available as his replacement that O’Connell is very familiar with.

Minnesota Vikings should attempt to hire Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero in 2023

After five years as a defensive assistant for the Los Angeles Rams from 2017 to 2021, Ejiro Evero got his first chance to run an entire NFL defense this season when the Broncos made him their defensive coordinator last February.

Despite Denver ending up as one of the worst teams in the league in 2022, their defense ranked as one of the NFL’s best under Evero.

When the 2022 regular season concluded on Sunday, the Broncos’ defense ranked 14th in points allowed, seventh in yards allowed, fifth in passing yards allowed per pass attempt, 11th in rushing yards allowed per carry, second in third-down conversion rate allowed, and seventh in red zone conversion rate allowed.

According to Football Outsider’s DVOA metric, Denver’s defense was regarded as the 10th-best unit in the NFL during the 2022 season with Evero leading the charge.

Evero’s success with the Broncos in 2022 has certainly been noticed by those outside of Denver, as the Houston Texans have already requested to meet with him about their vacant head-coaching job. The Broncos are planning to interview him for their own head-coaching vacancy as well.

If Evero ends up not being selected to be a head coach for the 2023 season, don’t sleep on the Vikings as a possible landing spot for him.

He and O’Connell were both part of the Rams coaching staff in 2020 and 2021, and Evero was a member of the San Francisco 49ers coaching staff from 2013 to 2015 when Minnesota general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah was working in the 49ers’ front office as well.

The downside of hiring someone like Evero is that his tenure with the Vikings likely won’t be very long if he’s successful, as a team will probably hire him to be their head coach sooner than later.

But if he can come in and help improve the disaster that is the Minnesota defense in 2023, the Vikings would likely be more viewed as a contender next season and less of a pretender.

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