Vikings interview Ryan Nielsen for defensive coordinator job

USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings have completed an interview with Saints assistant coach Ryan Nielsen for their defensive coordinator job, the team announced.

The Vikings are seeking a replacement for Ed Donatell, who they fired Thursday.

The Minnesota defense was one of the worst in franchise history finishing the season ranked 28th in points allowed (25.1) and 31st in yards allowed (388.7).

The Vikings also have requested interviews with Seahawks associate head coach for defense Sean Desai and Steelers senior defensive assistant Brian Flores.

Nielsen is the co-defensive coordinator/defensive line coach for the Saints. He began his NFL coaching career in New Orleans in 2017 and has spent six years with the team.

He was defensive line coach from 2017-20 before adding assistant head coach duties in 2021 after LSU tried to hire him. When Sean Payton left a year ago, Nielsen became co-defensive coordinator.

6 responses to “Vikings interview Ryan Nielsen for defensive coordinator job

  1. One of the worst defenses on franchise history? I am curiious which ones were worse? I know 2021 was bad but it felt like Zimmer had players in position to make plays…they just did not. It felt like 70% of the yards were given up by Breeland in 2021.

    This year players were no where near the defenders on so many plays. I blame scheme. I don’t believe Kendricks is suddenly slow. I think the scheme had him thinking too much this year. That is the opposite of what Ed said this defense would be like. Under Zimmer the defenders talked about read your cues and go. I’m hopeful we find a great 4-3 coordinator. Someone that was once a head coach, too. Then turn the keys over to him and Kevin can concentrate on offense.

  2. govchris says:
    January 23, 2023 at 9:26 pm
    One of the worst defenses on franchise history? I am curiious which ones were worse? I know 2021 was bad but it felt like Zimmer had players in position to make plays…they just did not.
    /////
    I get what you’re trying to say, but watching Zim’s DB’s consistently give up first downs and TDs while playing a loose off coverage tells me differently (remember the Lions loss where the WR literally jogged to the end zone, turned around, and caught a game winning TD?). Let’s not try and defend a terrible Zim with a terrible Donatelle. They both stink, equally.

  3. govchris says:
    January 23, 2023 at 9:26 pm

    One of the worst defenses on franchise history? I am curiious which ones were worse?
    ___________

    Take a look at the 1984 defense. Last in the league in points and yards allowed. Gave up 30.25 points per game in a much lower-scoring era. More recently, the 2002 team gave up 27.6 ppg, the 2011 team gave up 28.1 ppg, and the 2013 team gave up 30.0 ppg. The 2013 team was last in points against and 31st in yards against. Zimmer was hired the next year and they moved up to 11th in points against (21.4) and 14th in yards against, which gives me hope that a change in defensive coordinator could provide some immediate improvement.

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