VikingsTerritory’s Purple Rumor Mill is a two-day chronicle each week. All the week’s rumors are lassoed and plopped in two spots — articles on Saturday and Sunday — for review. Today is the January 22nd edition.

Remember — rumors are rumors. What you read on weekends in these pieces is what the world is talking about pertaining to the Vikings, not necessarily items that will come to fruition.

Purple Rumor Mill: Brian Flores, McCardell’s Possible Departure, Jefferson’s Money

Rumor: Brian Flores is a frontrunner to become the Vikings next defensive coordinator.

Brian Flores
Oct 31, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores looks on against the Buffalo Bills during the second half at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports.

He may not be the announced “frontrunner” just yet, but he is the first candidate linked to the Vikings defensive coordinator search.

Ian Rapoport tweeted Saturday morning, “The Vikings have requested permission to speak with Steelers senior defensive assistant and LBs coach Brian Flores for their newly vacant DC job, source said. Coach Kevin O’Connell and Flores overlapped in New England for a year.”

Minnesota fired Ed Donatell on Thursday after his defense finished 27th in the NFL this season per DVOA. And, of course, the Vikings defense was thoroughly exposed in last weekend’s playoff game against the New York Giants.

Flores is a tremendous defensive mind, leading the Miami Dolphins back to defensive respectability from 2019 to 2021.

He would be a magnificent hire as Kevin O’Connell’s defensive coordinator.

Rumor: Meanwhile, beloved Vikings WR coach Keenan McCardell could be the Patriots next offensive coordinator.

Patriots Request Interview
Jaguars #12, Dede Westbrook gets instructions from wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell during Tuesday morning’s minicamp session. The Jacksonville Jaguars held their first day of 2019 mandatory minicamp at the practice fields by TIAA Bank Field Tuesday, June 11, 2019. [Bob Self/Florida Times-Union] Jaguars #12,

While Brian Flores may be on the way for defense, Keenan McCardell may be exiting the backdoor to pursue offense — with the New England Patriots.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted Wednesday morning, “The Patriots have requested permission to speak with Vikings WRs coach Keenan McCardell for their OC position, sources say. He joins a growing list of candidates that also includes Bama OC Bill O’Brien.”

McCardell joined the Vikings coaching staff in 2021, and when the franchise cleaned house with a new general manager and coaches last year, McCardell was the last man standing for coaching holdovers. Even beloved men like Andre Patterson trekked to new teams. But McCardell stayed, pairing with O’Connell and OC Wes Phillips.

He’s probably due for an offensive coordinator job, and it’s pretty neat that Bill Belichick is giving him a look. McCardell deserves it.

Rumor: Justin Jefferson wants to remain with the Vikings and will re-sign with the team this offseason.

Offense Stats from 2022
Jan 8, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) warms up wearing a shirt honoring Buffalo Bills Safety Damar Hamlin (3) before the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports

At the Vikings year-end press conference, Adofo-Mensah was asked if retaining the soon-to-be Offensive Player of the Year, Jefferson, would be a challenge. The young executive grinned and said, “I wouldn’t use the word challenge. You got a special player, a special person. Those aren’t problems. Or at least those are champagne problems.”

Adofo-Mensah added about Jefferson’s upcoming extension, “So, we’ll start there. We’ve had initial dialogue with him, his agent. All those things we get back to that in the planning, but again it really starts from the player, the person, and we’ll work on solutions from there on.”

Jefferson also wants to stay with the Vikings, telling reporters on Monday, “I will be wherever I’m wanted. If they want me here, I’m here. That’s not something that I can really control.”

So, yes — expect Jefferson and the Vikings to announce a megadeal in the next couple of months, linking the phenom wideout to the franchise for the next six or seven years.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Viking obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

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