Candidate #2: Mike Pettine - Vikings Assistant Head Coach
Mike Pettine, the former head coach of the Cleveland Browns and the current Assistant Head Coach for the Minnesota Vikings seems to be the top candidate on this list due to his strong background in defense. As the Assistant Head Coach, Pettine is responsible for overseeing most of the defensive operations, not including scheme or play calling, which is utilized by Brian Flores.
However, it is unclear how much influence he has on Flores' defense, given that he held the same position last season under Ed Donatell when the unit ranked 31st in total defense. It is worth noting that Pettine prefers a less blitz-heavy defense than Flores and typically uses a 4-3 base, as opposed to Flores' 3-4 base.
Although it may not be the ideal option, promoting from within could make more sense than hiring an outsider who may not know how to position players effectively. Regardless of who replaces Flores, the new hire will have their work cut out for them since Flores has had an excellent performance in 2023.
While Pettine has struggled in the past, particularly during his time as Head Coach of the Cleveland Browns, he achieved some sustained success during his four-year stint with the Green Bay Packers, where he was calling plays on the defensive side of the ball.