Brian Flores clearly is a name to watch as the Patriots potentially prepare to search for a new head coach.

The Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator, who began his professional career in New England, surprisingly popped up in a recent report about how the Patriots could go about replacing Bill Belichick. At the time time, it was easy to write off the rumor as a potential one-off favor to Flores and/or his agent, or something.

However, thanks to Ben Volin of The Boston Globe, there now are two reports tying Flores to the Patriots.

“Sources have indicated that Titans coach Mike Vrabel is the Krafts’ ‘home run’ choice to succeed Belichick, but a trade may be too expensive,” Volin wrote in a story published Friday. “The name that is now generating buzz is Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores, who was the Dolphins’ head coach for three years and spent 15 years rising through the Patriots organization.”

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It’ll be interesting to see whether Flores pops up in any additional rumors in the days ahead.

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Of course, none of that will matter if Belichick remains with New England. But all signs point toward the Patriots moving on from the legendary head coach after Sunday’s home game against the New York Jets.

Featured image via Jamie Sabau/USA TODAY Sports Images