Brian Flores connection could cost Steelers a top free agent

With Brian Flores at the defensive helm in Minnesota, the Pittsburgh Steelers will have to hold on much more tightly to their top pending free agents.

Less than a week before the start of free agency, Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores is making his list of the top available defenders and checking it twice. There’s a good chance the list has one or two Pittsburgh Steelers players on it.

The Vikings have been on a roster-cutting rampage throwing the likes of Adam Thielen, Eric Kendricks, Harrison Smith, and possibly Dalvin Cook to the curb. It’s a Shining-level bloodbath with no one guaranteed to be safe from the guillotine as Minnesota continues to make aggressive and ruthless moves to get under the salary cap.

Once they do, the Vikings can turn their attention to rebuilding key areas, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. New defensive coordinator Brian Flores, who spent last season on the Steelers as the linebackers coach, has a tall task ahead of him in fixing one of the league’s worst defenses.

The Vikings allowed 25.1 points per game in 2022, tied for 29th overall, and just released talented players like Kendrick and Smith will hurt. To stop the bleeding, Flores could look to his former team to potentially poach some pending free agents: Cameron Sutton, Terrell Edmunds, Devin Bush, and Robert Spillane all come to mind and would plug up the defensive holes in the Vikings’ roster nicely.

Vikings DC Brian Flores may throw out a fishing line for Steelers top free agents

Of all the Steelers, cornerback Cameron Sutton arguably provides the highest upside after putting together a career-best campaign in his sixth season in Pittsburgh, recording 15 passes defended and three interceptions.

Safety Terrell Edmunds also looks tantalizing from the Vikings’ point of view since the franchise recently ousted Harrison Smith, and Devin Bush could perhaps fill in Eric Kendricks’ shoes as a younger and cheaper option in the linebacker corps.

Flores has long held an aggressive, blitz-heavy approach when it comes to his defense based on his previous stints on the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins.

Unfortunately for the Steelers, Flores could turn out to be just as aggressive in free agency if he decides he wants to reel in some of Pittsburgh’s most drool-worthy defensive free agents.

New England Patriots’ Jonathan Jones and Miami Dolphins’ Byron Jones also have connections to Flores and are set to enter free agency, two cornerbacks who may be flying high on Flores’ radar as well.

Has Flores made such a profound impact on the players he coached that they would all want to play for him on the Thielen-less, possibly Cook-less and Cousins-less Vikings? In three days time, we’ll find out.

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