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Vikings interview assistant head coach Mike Pettine for defensive coordinator job

While lining up interviews with three outside candidates — Ryan Nielsen of the Saints, Sean Desai of the Seahawks and Brian Flores of the Steelers — for their defensive coordinator job, the Vikings take a look at an inside candidate coach Kevin O’ Connell knows well. .

A source with knowledge of the situation has confirmed that Pettine, who is currently the Vikings’ assistant head coach, is interviewing for the team’s opening defensive coordinator to replace Ed Donatell. Pettine previously served as defensive coordinator for the Jets (2009-12), Bills (2013) and Packers (2018-20).

The Vikings have already interviewed Nielsen and Desai this week and requested an interview with Flores, who is also a candidate for the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals.

Pettine first met O’Connell when they were both with the Jets, and his work in New York helped him become the Browns’ head coach in 2014. When Pettine was looking from a new quarterbacks coach in 2015, he gave O’Connell his first NFL job; O’Connell sought out Pettine for an assistant head coaching job when he was assembling his first Vikings staff last year.

Pettine’s head coaching experience made him something of an aide-de-camp to O’Connell, who could delegate certain tasks to the 56-year-old and look to him for advice. Pettine also played a role in the “situation masters” meetings that Vikings game management coordinator Ryan Cordell hosted each week.

The fact that Pettine spent the 2022 season with the Vikings could indicate a similar approach to what Ed Donatell took with the defense. But Pettine’s roots are in a version of the 3-4 defense that emphasized zone blitzes under Rex Ryan. His Packers defenses have reduced their blitz rates, but Pettine’s lineage suggests he could give the Vikings plan different flavors than it had under Donatell.

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