Vikings target former Packers assistant as Ed Donatell replacement

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – DECEMBER 11: Head coach Kevin O’Connell of the Minnesota Vikings looks on during the third quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on December 11, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

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The Minnesota Vikings are looking at an internal option and former defensive coordinator of the rival Green Bay Packers to fill their vacancy.

The Minnesota Vikings won 13 games this season in spite of their defense. Under defensive coordinator Ed Donatell, they were among the worst units in the league, allowing an average of 388.7 yards (31st in NFL) and 25.1 points (tied 28th) per game. After Minnesota was upset by the No. 6 seeded New York Giants, the team fired Donatell days after the defense was torched by quarterback Daniel Jones.

As for who the Vikings are considering bringing in to replace him, they are looking at an internal option that also has experience coaching for the Green Bay Packers.

According to NFL Network national insider Ian Rapoport, the Vikings are interviewing their assistant head coach Mike Pettine for their vacant defensive coordinator position Pettine previously was the defensive coordinator for the Packers.

The #Vikings are interviewing Mike Pettine, the former #Packers DC and current assistant head coach, for their vacant DC job, source said. Brian Flores, the #Steelers senior defensive assistant and LBs coach, has his Minnesota interview tomorrow.

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 25, 2023

Vikings interviewing assistant head coach, former Packers DC Mike Pettine

Pettine joined head coach Kevin O’Connell’s staff last season after serving as a senior defensive assistant for the Chicago Bears in 2021. But most notably, he was the Packers defensive coordinator from the 2018 season until the conclusion of the 2020 campaign. His final game as the coordinator for the Packers was the NFC Championship Game, in which the team defense surrendered big plays in the 31-26 loss.

Let’s take a look at how Green Bay’s defense ranked in their three years with Pettine leading the way:

2018: 354.4 total yards of total offense (18th) and 25.0 points (22nd) allowed per game2019: 352.6 total yards of offense (18th) and 19.6 points (ninth) allowed per game2020: 334.0 total yards of offense (ninth) and 23.1 points (13th) allowed per game

As Rapoport notes, Pettine isn’t the only candidate they are interviewing. Former Miami Dolphins head coach and current Pittsburgh Steelers defensive assistant and linebackers coach Brian Flores is interviewing for Minnesota’s defensive coordinator position on Friday.

The Vikings recently completed interviews with Seattle Seahawks associate head coach Sean Desai and New Orleans Saints co-defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen for the vacancy.

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