Brian Flores to take part in NFL's coach accelerator program

Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores will be among the 27 participants in the NFL's fifth accelerator program, an event hosted by the league to strengthen the pipeline of diverse candidates for front office and coaching positions, at the league meetings in Nashville, Tennessee, next week.

Flores, a longtime New England Patriots assistant before becoming the head coach of the Miami Dolphins from 2019-21, filed a lawsuit in 2022 against the NFL and several teams alleging racial discrimination in its hiring practices. After being fired by the Dolphins, Flores spent a season with the Pittsburgh Steelers as a senior defensive assistant and linebackers coach before taking the Vikings defensive coordinator position in 2023.

Last July, a federal judge ruled that Flores can proceed to trial with his claims against the league and three teams: The Denver Broncos, New York Giants and Houston Texans. The judge ruled last March that Flores must pursue his claims against the Dolphins through arbitration.

Flores wasn't an official participant in the program at last year's spring meetings, but with the event taking part in Minneapolis he walked over to see a few people who participated. Last year, he called the program "great" and added that "exposure leads to expansion. That's a real and true statement."

The Coach Accelerator program, which began in 2022, follows the Front Office Accelerator program held at the December league meetings in Dallas. Next week's event will also include college coaches for the first time.

"Developing diverse coaching talent through the Accelerator program is a key priority," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. "In its fifth iteration, this program continues to be an effective avenue for club owners and executives to be exposed to the skillset and unique backgrounds of highly qualified coaching candidates, and for the program's participants to network with one another and engage in professional development sessions."

The event aims to introduce and familiarize candidates from diverse backgrounds with the league's decision-makers. Thanks in part to his participation in the inaugural 2022 accelerator program, Ran Carthon was hired last year as the Tennessee Titans' general manager from his post as the San Francisco 49ers' director of player personnel.

None of the participants of the 2023 coaching accelerator program landed head coach positions in the most recent hiring cycle, but several accepted new coordinator positions, including former Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, who was hired this year to be on Mike Macdonald's Seattle Seahawks staff as assistant head coach.

"Since its inception, the Coaching Accelerator has prepared candidates to succeed in various coaching roles while cultivating relationships with executives and key decision makers," Mark Wilf, Vikings owner and president, said in a statement. "The program proves to be mutually beneficial for participants and clubs as it breaks down barriers to access and educational tools vital for success. I am proud of the progress already made and look forward to seeing the continuous growth of the Accelerator."

Other participants in the 2024 program include former Texans offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka, Seahawks quarterbacks coach Charles London and Detroit Lions running backs coach Scottie Montgomery.

ESPN's Kevin Seifert contributed to this report.