6 realistic candidates to be the next Vikings defensive coordinator

(Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images) Vance Joseph
(Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images) Vance Joseph /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports) Sean Desai /

Sean Desai

2022 Role: Associate Head Coach and Defensive Assistant for the Seattle Seahawks

We should expect Kevin O’Connell to go back to some of the candidates he interviewed for the Vikings defensive coordinator job around this time one year ago. If that ends up being the case, Sean Desai will likely be among those to get an interview for the position.

Desai spent the 2022 season with the Seahawks, but before that, he spent 2013 to 2021 on the coaching staff of the Chicago Bears. In 2021, he got the opportunity to be the Bears’ defensive coordinator, and even though the team didn’t achieve much that season, their defense wound up ranking as the 13th-best unit in the NFL according to Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric.

For someone who is only 39-years-old, Desai already has a ton of experience as an NFL assistant, and his youth could be a nice breath of fresh air for Minnesota after they just spent the 2022 season with a 65-year-old running their defense.

Aubrey Pleasant

2022 Roles: Defensive Backs Coach and Passing Game Coordinator for the Detroit Lions – Offensive Consultant for the Green Bay Packers

Considering he was fired by the Lions midway through the 2022 season, some might be a bit hesitant about the Vikings possibly considering Aubrey Pleasant as their next defensive coordinator.

However, Kevin O’Connell spoke very highly of Pleasant during last year’s NFL Scouting Combine, calling him a “future [NFL] head coach.” O’Connell interviewed Pleasant for Minnesota’s defensive coordinator job last offseason, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he brought him back for another interview in the near future.

As for why Pleasant was let go by Detroit in the middle of the 2022 season, Lions head coach Dan Campbell stated that “we’re a production-based business, and after seven weeks, it just felt like this change needed to be made.”

Will Pleasant’s midseason departure from the Lions impact his chance of being considered for the defensive coordinator job with the Vikings? It’s possible, but O’Connell clearly sees something special in him, and that should at least earn him an interview for the role for the second year in a row.

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