Minnesota Vikings new head coach Kevin O'Connell addresses the media.

Vikings Look Towards The Future With New Coaching Hire

On Wednesday morning, the Minnesota Vikings officially announced Kevin O’Connell as their new head coach. Formerly the offensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams, O’Connell is the tenth coach in Vikings history.


Vikings players walk through the tunnel at Lambeau Field – Alli Rusco and Harrison Barden (Vikings)

2021 Struggles.

The Vikings finished off the 2021-22 season with an 8-9 record, missing the playoffs for a second straight season. The team lost a lot of crucial games and the offense couldn’t gel at any point during the season. The defense was also abysmal, ranking 31st in yards allowed and 25th in opponents’ points allowed. Ultimately, the two successive sub-.500 seasons couldn’t protect former head coach, Mike Zimmer’s seat. Zimmer had been with the organization for eight years.

The long-term plan. 

The hiring of Kevin O’Connell is a complete flip from Zimmer’s coaching and leadership style. At only 36 years old,  O’Connell brings an innovative scheme and upbeat energy to the Vikings locker room. His infectious positivity could be just what the Minnesota club needs to get over the hump.

Here’s what O’Connell had to say about the new opportunity:

AP Images – Kevin O’Connell with the LA Rams

A former NFL Quarterback, O’Connell has a unique understanding of the league’s mechanics. His playing career was that of a journeyman with limited snaps, but his football IQ and play design are second to none. Expect to see a varied run scheme complement a spread passing attack, as seen in the 2021 Rams offense.

O’Connell’s history.

Before heading to Los Angeles, he began his coaching career with the Browns as a quarterbacks coach in 2015. He spent a little time working with the 49ers, before moving to Washington as an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. In Washington, he would oversee now Vikings quarterback, Kirk Cousins.

Short-term focus.

With the NFL offseason kicking into full gear and the 2022 NFL Draft fast approaching, The Vikings have a lot of work to do. The Minnesota club will surely be looking to add some strength to the cornerback and edge positions. It should be interesting to see how Kevin O’Connell adjusts his roster, coaching staff, and game plan headed into the coming months.

Here are his thoughts on the challenge:

As always, make sure to follow ESPN Gainesville for all your NFL news.

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