The Minnesota Vikings asked to interview their first defensive coordinator in Brian Flores early Saturday morning and they added to that list Sunday night. By ESPN’s Adam Schefterthe Vikings have requested to interview New Orleans Saints co-defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen for their defensive coordinator vacancy.
A former defensive tackle for USC in the late 1990s, Nielsen spent a season on the Philadelphia Eagles practice squad and a year with the Arena Football League’s Los Angeles Avengers before becoming a coach.
Nielsen cut his teeth on the college side before the New Orleans Saints hired him to coach the defensive line ahead of the 2017 season. In 2021, he was named associate head coach with his coaching duties at the defensive line and served as co-defensive coordinator last season.
The defense is quite different from Ed Donatell’s last season. The Saints mostly run four linemen using 4-2-5 sets 11th and 4-3-4 sixth in the NFL last season according to Sports Info Solutions.
If the Vikings were to hire Nielsen, it would be a throwback to what they did under Mike Zimmer, but there are still plenty of different sets, as they ran 175 snaps with just two linemen and 68 snaps with one.