The first bullet has been dodged.
According to Minnesota Vikings beat writer Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune, the Vikes are hiring Ed Donatell as their next defensive coordinator. That means that Detroit Lions defensive backs coach Aubrey Pleasant, who interviewed for the job earlier this week, will not be landing in Minnesota.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean Pleasant will be back in Detroit for 2022. The young, defensive coach also interviewed for the New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator position this week. At this point, it’s not clear who else is up for that job or how serious of a candidate Pleasant is. That being said, you’d have to imagine there’s a good chance Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn vouched for Pleasant when Glenn interviewed for the head coaching position in New Orleans last week.
Pleasant has only spent one year with Detroit, but he’s already earned rave reviews from players. He helped oversee the development of Detroit’s young secondary. Injuries forced the Lions to start two undrafted rookies—Jerry Jacobs and AJ Parker—for most of the season, and both players managed to look like decent NFL players thanks, in part, to Pleasant’s tutelage. Cornerback Amani Oruwariye also had a career season last year, and safety Tracy Walker took some promising strides, as well.
Obviously, none of these hirings are official yet, as the Vikings don’t “officially” even have their head coach in place. Minnesota is expected to hire Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell as their next head coach, but can’t make it official until after the Super Bowl for obvious reasons. In the meantime, it looks like O’Connell is building out the rest of his staff while preparing for The Big Game.