Brian Flores Makes It Harder for Miami Dolphins To Win (Again)

The Minnesota Vikings swiped linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel away from the Miami Dolphins on the advice of the latter's former coach.

The NFL Draft is four weeks away, and the Miami Dolphins again are down a premium pick.

The league took their third-round selection as part of the illegal tampering punishment it handed down in August 2022.

But that’s not the only way that Brian Flores — the former Dolphins coach whose racial discrimination lawsuit was the blueprint for the NFL‘s investigation into Stephen Ross’ improper actions — took talent off Miami’s roster in 2024.

How Vikings Snatched Andrew Van Ginkel From Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins had hopes of re-signing free agent linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel, but couldn’t compete with the two-year, $20 million contract the Minnesota Vikings offered.

So he’s gone, along with the six sacks, eight tackles for loss, 19 quarterback hits, eight passes defensed, and one defensive touchdown he gave the Dolphins in 2023. And he’s reunited with Flores, who drafted Van Ginkel to the Dolphins back in 2019.

The Dolphins replaced him with Shaq Barrett, who is an accomplished veteran but not the player he was in his prime five years ago.

Certainly, someone else likely would have paid Van Ginkel more than the Dolphins could have afforded, even if the Vikings couldn’t. But it had to sting a little that they lost their best healthy pass rusher to Flores — who had a fantastic first season as Minnesota’s defensive coordinator.

“I think Flo obviously was a major driving force behind it,” Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell said Tuesday at the NFL’s Annual League Meeting.

The truth is, AVG would have been on O’Connell’s radar even without Flores’ prodding.

Van Ginkel impressed O’Connell the two times he’s had to deal with him on the football field — in 2020 and 2022.

“Go back to 2020 where he wrecked the game against us when I was with the Rams,” he added. “He does it from such a versatility perspective. He’s on the edge, he can line up off the ball, he can drop in coverage.

“He really turned into a really good rusher on those known passing downs. And I think Flo from the very beginning of free agency, he talked about what that Swiss Army knife type feel would be after.”

O’Connell, who had a cup of coffee with the Dolphins during his playing career, continued:

“It would be one thing if it was Year 1 for Flo, but now envisioning not only what we have with Josh Metellus and Harrison Smith and Cam Bynum, but you know, the linebacker position with [Ivan Pace] and bringing in a guy like Blake Cashman and then knowing we’ve got JG on the other side, Jonathan Greenard and Gink now to really kind of pair with their skill sets.

“I think that’s what I’m most excited about. Just the roles that we plan on having for those guys and then how the defense can really expand because of guys’ ultimate comfort in what Flo wants to be doing.

“So I think Gink is a huge part of how we wanted to build the whole defense, but you can’t do that unless you get that skill set, especially on the edge.”

KEEP READING: Jordan Poyer Signing Already Benefiting Miami Dolphins in Hidden Ways

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