Brian Flores had a lot to do with the Vikings pursuit of Andrew Van Ginkel

During the first few days of free agency, the Miami Dolphins lost a number of key players, including linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel, who signed a two-year, $20 million contract to join the Minnesota Vikings.

Van Ginkel was an impact player for Miami despite having his opportunities dip at times. In 73 career games wearing aqua and orange, the former Wisconsin Badger recorded 250 tackles (31 for a loss), 57 quarterback hits, 21 passes defended, 17 sacks, four forced fumbles, three fumbles recovered and two interceptions.

Speaking during the NFL’s annual meetings, Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell shared why they were so aggressive in targeting the edge rusher.

“I think [Brian Flores’] background with him and, obviously, a lot of my offensive coaches and myself on the offensive side have had some trouble playing against Gink over the past few years,” O’Connell said (transcribed by the South Florida Sun Sentinel). “I think, just the versatility of what he means to our team, really, what it means for Flo, their history together. Flo has built something unique, kind of 1-of-1 here in Minnesota, and I’m excited to see him use Gink and kind of where that takes us.”

Flores and Van Ginkel both arrived in Miami in 2019 and worked well together for three seasons before the coach’s firing. The linebacker’s 2020 and 2021 campaigns were some of his best, as he recorded 119 tackles (16 for a loss), 30 quarterback hits, 11 passes defensed, 9.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and one fumble recovery (a 78-yard scoop and score).

Van Ginkel will likely be lined up all over the front in Flores’ scheme, allowing him to confuse opposing quarterbacks and offensive linemen to get pressure and potentially force some mistakes.

Meanwhile, the Dolphins have replaced him with veteran linebacker Shaq Barrett, who may be a more proven pass-rusher, but he definitely doesn’t have the versatility that Van Ginkel brought.

Story originally appeared on Dolphins Wire