Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Matt Anderson

5 players the Vikings could target after Brian Flores hire

The offseason in the NFL is known for changes, whether that’s with coaches going to new teams or players. On Monday, the Minnesota Vikings announced that they’d be making a change at defensive coordinator by hiring Brian Flores.

Flores was with the Pittsburgh Steelers last season as a defensive assistant, but prior to that, he was the head coach of the Miami Dolphins. In his tenure with the Dolphins, he led an aggressive, blitz-heavy defense. Hearing that will give fans a breath of fresh air, especially given what we had last season under Ed Donatell.

Buy Vikings Tickets

Flores’ aggressive defense needs players who are fast and versatile, and let’s face it, the Vikings’ defense from last year is an aging unit that could use an infusion of youth. On Tuesday, Tyler Forness took a look at cornerbacks that the Vikings could target. I continued on that by taking a look at some players, including a couple other cornerbacks that the Vikings could target this offseason.

EDGE/LB Andrew Van Ginkel

Mandatory Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

Fans will look at this and ask, “Who is Andrew Van Ginkel?” That’s a fair question, as he’s not really a household name in the NFL.

Van Ginkel is an edge rusher who plays outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. He also happened to play for Flores during his three years in Miami. Now Van Ginkel is a free agent looking for a new home.

The Vikings could use some youth and depth on defense. By bringing in Van Ginkel, it would give the Vikings a serviceable player—Van Ginkel was Pro Football Focus’ 43rd-ranked edge rusher last season—and it would give them a player with knowledge of Flores’ scheme.

It wouldn’t be a huge move, but it could prove beneficial for all parties involved.

EDGE/LB Shaq Lawson

Bills Shaq Lawson hits Miami quarterback Skylar Thompson after he gets rid of the ball.

Lawson spent one year with Flores in Miami in 2020 and performed admirably. Fast forward to this offseason, and Lawson is a free agent potentially looking for a new team.

Should the Vikings move on from Za’Darius Smith or Danielle Hunter, Lawson could come in and fill that role at a lesser cost.

Additionally, Lawson has that familiarity with Flores. In the NFL, it’s all about who you know, and having knowledge of the scheme is important as well. Lawson would be able to come in and help the new guys learn this system and be a veteran presence.


CB Cam Sutton

Dec 18, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. (88) attempts a catch as Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Cameron Sutton (20) defends in the fourth quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Last season with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cam Sutton finished as Pro Football Focus’ 27th-ranked corner in the NFL. While Sutton’s name is not one you hear often, it’s mainly because he’s handling his business.

Sutton is a smaller cornerback than most people would expect in a Flores-type defense, but he brings versatility to the table. Flores’ defense likes to blitz often, and having players that you can line up in the slot or outside will allow you to mix up your coverages and be more succubus.

Additionally, Sutton just played with the Steelers this past year, meaning he’s familiar with Flores. Sutton is just about to turn 28 years old, and should the Vikings be able to sign him, he’d be a solid player for two or three seasons.

DT Javon Hargrave

Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

In Flores’ scheme, your defensive line must put pressure on the quarterback. As it stands today, the Vikings do not have someone who can rush the passer from the interior part of the defensive line. While Hargrave is a big name on the free agent market this offseason, he’d be an instant asset to this team.

Hargrave is 30 years old, so he certainly isn’t the young guy you can build around, but free agency is all about filling holes on your roster. Hargrave has been near the top in the NFL when it comes to pass-rushing ability and was ranked as the 12th-highest defensive tackle last season. This is a move that would have Vikings fans drooling.

DT Dre'Mont Jones

Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

If the Vikings swing and miss on Hargrave, they could pivot to Dre’Mont Jones. For all the reasons listed for Hargrave, Jones would fill those needs as well; the only difference is that Jones has a lot more room to grow.

Jones is just 26 years old, but should the Vikings look to sign him, he could step in and be a core member of this defense for the foreseeable future. He finished 2022 with seven sacks and 45 pressures. For reference, last season, Dalvin Tomlinson and Harrison Phillips had six sacks combined.

Jones would be able to step in and help fortify the defensive line for years to come.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.