Less than an hour after it was reported that the New Orleans Saints were planning to hire Dennis Allen as their next head coach, presumedly resulting in the return of Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn, another report has emerged indicating the Lions are in jeopardy of losing a different defensive coach.
NFL Network’s Tom Peliserro is reporting that the Minnesota Vikings have formally requested to interview Lions secondary coach/passing game coordinator Aubrey Pleasant for their defensive coordinator position.
Soon to be Vikings’ new head coach Kevin O’Connell—and current offensive coordinator of the Los Angeles Rams—worked with Pleasant in 2020, when Pleasant was the Rams’ cornerbacks coach, the year prior to joining the Lions.
Last week at the Senior Bowl, Pleasant was given the opportunity to take over defensive coordinator responsibilities of the American roster, working in place of Glenn as part of the new coaching rules for the event.
“I think it’s just putting another tool in my toolshed,” Pleasant said of his opportunity at the Senior Bowl. “Continue to do things the old-fashioned way, which is grind, work hard, and hopefully let your work take care of itself.”
Pleasant performed well, brought his signature high-level of energy, and even went so far as to modify his own defensive playbook to work within the rules for the All-Star game. His efforts drew praises from the Lions coaching staff.
“I thought AP did a really good job,” Glenn said of Pleasant at the Senior Bowl. “I mean, it’s like who he is. He’s very energetic, he knows ball.”
Ask any Lions’ Beat writer and they will tell you, Pleasant has the necessary talent to be a defensive coordinator in the NFL, and it’s not a matter of if he will get a shot, but when. Pleasant, on the other hand, says he hasn’t thought too much about it.
“It’s funny, good question, because I never even thought about it, to be honest with you,” Pleasant said of his Senior Bowl role possibly creating an opportunity for other NFL teams to see what he can do as a defensive coordinator. “I never really thought about anyone else looking at me in this position other than the people I’m working with. I would say that’s my mindset because the rest will take care of itself.”
Less than two days after the conclusion of the Senior Bowl, the Vikings put in their request. Pleasant has been seen.
One final note: Previously, teams have had the power to deny interview requests of position coaches for coordinator jobs, but in 2020, the NFL passed a rule eliminating that option.