Earlier this year, the Minnesota Vikings announced their new head coach, Kevin O’Connell. O’Connell had spent two seasons as the offensive co-coordinator for the LA Rams; this new hire makes him the franchise’s tenth head coach.
The Vikings President expressed his joy about the new hire citing his various strongholds. “We are ecstatic to add Kevin as our head coach. He is a strong leader, an innovative coach, and an excellent communicator.
Kevin played the game at all levels, which gives him a unique connection to players, and is highly respected throughout the league. Vikings fans should be excited for the future of this team under Kevin’s direction.”
O’Connell’s resume is impressive, and he makes quite a great and respectable leader who has been at the forefront of some offensive schemes. He is known for his passion and high perception of the game all while having an innate ability to communicate and develop his players.
O’Connell’s Interview and Subsequent Hire
O’Connell’s initial interview was conducted virtually on January 21 followed by an in-person interview ten days later. This subsequent interview was in Los Angeles after the Los Angeles Rams had proceeded to the Super Bowl LVI with O’Connell as the offensive coordinator.
The NFL stipulates that teams cannot announce new hires until after the Super Bowl; therefore, the Vikings could announce O’Connell is joining their team. Kevin O’Connell joins the Minnesota Vikings with a Super Bowl under his belt when he was pivotal in LA Rams Super Bowl LVI win.
O’Connell was deeply moved by this new position on the team at expressed this in his reply. “I greatly appreciate the Wilf family, Kwesi, and the entire Minnesota Vikings organization for providing the opportunity to be their next head coach. This franchise has a deep history and a tremendous fan base.”
New #Vikings Head Coach Kevin O'Connell has 12 seasons of NFL experience (5 as a player, 7 as a coach).
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) February 16, 2022
O’Connell’s Impressive Resume
Kevin O’Connell started his coaching career in the NFL in Cleveland in 2015 as the quarterbacks’ coach for the Cleveland Browns. He subsequently spent the next season in San Francisco before proceeding to Washington the following year.
He was at Washington as their quarterback’s coach, coincidentally during Kirk Cousin’s final season at Washington. Cousin went on to work with the Vikings as a free agent during the 2108 spring season. In their lone season together, Cousin threw 13 perceptions, 4,091 yards, and 27 touchdowns.
O’Connell was promoted to offensive coordinator after his time at Washington and finally joined the West Coast.
He spent five seasons in five different teams as an NFL quarterback before becoming a coach. Plus, Kevin only played one season as a regular and spent the next four seasons as a backup for the JETS, Dolphins, Lions, and Chargers. A graduate of San Diego State, O’Connell finished his play as a third-round pick by New England in 2008.
LIVE: Head Coach Kevin O’Connell speaks to the media after his first career win as a head coach. https://t.co/jMy7rQz1Yd
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) September 11, 2022
O’Connell’s Strategy as Head Coach
After a key joint workout with the 49ers early last month, O’Connell was seen sitting in the team’s grass field, stretched out and carefree, listening to rap music that spilled into the field.
His demeanor displayed not a care in the world, a reflection of someone who knew what he was doing.
At an age where the NFL is filled with hypersensitive coaches who are too close to the media, O’Connell’s approach is a breath of fresh air and a sign of authenticity. McDaniels, O’Connell’s offensive co-coordinator when playing quarterback, attests to the qualities that would make him a great coach.
His outward poise and calm are more a reflection of his situation, a man smart enough to be aware of his shortcomings. This is seen in his staffing choices of experienced coaches like Ed Donatell, the defensive coordinator; Pettine, Greg Munsky, the linebackers coach; Wes Phillips, the offensive coordinator; and Kennan McCardell, the wide receiver’s coach.
This approach and the details he gleaned from seven years of assisting the coach make for a great coach who is invested in team culture. These beliefs have been seen to work by hand with the Los Angeles Rams and their coach, whose motto was to push and love harder.
Kevin O’Connell 🤌🏼 dis was beautiful pic.twitter.com/e93VC9khB1
— Walters (@zach_walters4) October 9, 2022
O’Connell’s First Year with the Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings kicked off Kevin O’Connell’s era with a 23- 7 win over the Green Bay Packers. The chemistry facilitated this win between wide receiver Justin Jefferson and quarterback Kirk Cousins without forgetting O’Connell’s magical hand.
These two players dominated the scene with their nine receptions, two touchdowns, and 174 yards on the immediate and short routes.
This win cements O’Connell as the fifth Vikings head coach to win on his debut and the third in 100 years since Mike Zimmer and Brad Childress.
This win was O’Connell’s first in his first game, a rather mean feat for the first head coach to do since Mike Tice in 2002.
Right now ClutchBet ranks O’Connell as third in the odds for Coach of the Year, priced at +600. Nick Sirianni (Philadelphia Eagles) and Brian Daboll (New York Giants) are the only ones ranking higher than the Vikings coach.
Flipped the field in a different way and it went for a huge gain.
Kevin O'Connell breaks the play down with @PeteBercich.
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) October 12, 2022