Concerning defensive coordinator candidate interviewing with Vikings

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) Mike Pettine
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) Mike Pettine /

The Minnesota Vikings are reportedly interviewing assistant head coach Mike Pettine to possibly become the team’s new defensive coordinator.

Just one year into the tenure of Kevin O’Connell as the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings, the team is already in need of a new defensive coordinator after the recent firing of Ed Donatell.

The Vikings have already interviewed a couple of candidates for Donatell’s old job, including current New Orleans Saints co-defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen and Seattle Seahawks associate head coach Sean Desai.

For their defensive coordinator opening, Minnesota is expected to meet with Pittsburgh Steelers senior defensive assistant Brian Flores on Thursday, and now, the Vikings will apparently interview one of their own coaches, assistant head coach Mike Pettine, for the opening as well, according to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport on Wednesday.

Mike Pettine as Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator would be concerning

If Minnesota is looking for a different approach to what Donatell did with their defense during the 2022 season, then Pettine probably wouldn’t be the best choice.

Much of what the Vikings’ defense struggled with during the 2022 campaign is similar to what some of Pettine’s defenses have also struggled with in the past. Just read what’s Brian Sampson wrote after Pettine’s 2020 season as the defensive coordinator for the Green Bay Packers.

"“The biggest reason Pettine should lose his job is the numerous light fronts he employs on a regular basis. It’s a staple in his playbook to call three-man rushes and/or soft zone coverages that bleed yards. This has come back to bite the Packers on a number of occasions.His bend but don’t break strategy is fine for a defense that lacks talent, but Green Bay has a number of playmakers that were never truly unleashed. Guys like Jaire Alexander, Darnell Savage, and Adrian Amos should be unlocked to play more freely.”"

Does that not sound eerily similar to some of the biggest weaknesses of Minnesota’s 2022 defense or what? Perhaps Pettine had more of an influence on the Vikings’ defense than many might have realized, and Donatell was just the fall guy?

Hopefully, Minnesota’s decision to interview Pettine is just their way to cover all of their bases and make sure they interview as many candidates as possible until they find the right guy to run their defense.

Because if the Vikings let their current assistant head coach become their new defensive coordinator, it seems like there will be a good chance that the team’s defense will continue to run into many of the same problems that they experienced in 2022.

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