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On Saturday, the Vikings saw a major roadblock removed from their pursuit of Ejiro Evero as their next defensive coordinator.

The Broncos released Evero from his contract with the team on Saturday, clearing the way for him to interview for jobs with other clubs after Sean Payton became the team's new head coach. The Vikings are expected to interview Evero as soon as they can arrange the logistics.

Evero, who worked with coach Kevin O'Connell for two years on the Rams' staff, is considered one of the two front-runners for the Vikings' defensive coordinator job, along with Steelers assistant head coach Brian Flores. Evero might have been the Vikings' pick as their defensive coordinator last year, but he took the Broncos job to work with his best friend Nathaniel Hackett in 2022.

When the Broncos fired Hackett in December, Evero declined to become the team's interim head coach; while he remains a candidate for the Colts' and Cardinals' head coaching jobs, Payton had blocked him from speaking with teams about other defensive coordinator openings until Saturday.

The 42-year-old Evero could still become a head coach this offseason, and the Panthers are also reportedly interested in talking to him about their defensive coordinator opening. His relationship with O'Connell, though, could draw him to Minnesota if he spends the 2023 season as a defensive coordinator.

Flores, who interviewed with the Vikings on Jan. 26, was on the Patriots' staff when O'Connell played there from 2008-09. He continues to be a contender for the Vikings job, though the Broncos also requested to talk with him for their defensive coordinator opening and the Cardinals interviewed him for their head coaching job.

Vikings assistant head coach Mike Pettine, a former NFL head coach and defensive coordinator, is the team's other active candidate after interviewing for the job on Jan. 25.