The Minnesota Vikings reportedly have their new head coach and it’s not Jim Harbaugh. Kevin O’Connell, offensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams, is reportedly the head-coaching choice for Minnesota.
Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reported that while a deal can’t be finalized until after the Super Bowl, the Vikings are “zeroing in” on O’Connell, and O’Connell “is Minnesota’s man.”
The #Vikings wrapped up an interview this afternoon with Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, then informed fellow finalists Patrick Graham and Raheem Morris they’re out. O’Connell is Minnesota’s man. https://t.co/rc60rsSk8W
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) February 3, 2022
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport confirmed that the Vikings are “targeting” O’Connell and that the move is expected.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 3, 2022
The reaction to the news has generally been positive.
Sean McVay’s OCs:
Matt LaFleur: 3 straight 13 Win Seasons
Zac Taylor: Coaching in the Superbowl
Kevin O’Connell: ?
— god damn! 🧻🧴 (@notHuberto) February 3, 2022
Went with the younger offensive minded coach. I’m with it https://t.co/G7x0YF1ajw
— KC (@kevin_okla) February 3, 2022
EXACTLY WHAT WE WANTED. YOUNG AND OFFENSIVE MINDED LFG https://t.co/8evM7pGQra
— Moderna Meg 💉 (@mtobin22) February 3, 2022
This was my guy. Gives an bright offensive mind time to grow and develop his own system https://t.co/ayvqmcZ0jS
— Deshawn Vaughan NFL (@vikingsfans16) February 3, 2022
The Harbaugh dream is over but honestly this might be the best thing moving forward. https://t.co/SGoejLnbUB
— Skol Cole (@SkolSmith) February 3, 2022
While the positive responses are in the majority, there have been some more negative thoughts from people. Some wanted to see another candidate. Others are skeptical of what it may bring.
Doesn’t call plays not moved https://t.co/rJkhzAHNyP
— Austin (Bengals Fan) (@WashlngtonNFL) February 3, 2022
— Nicholas Nenad (@nicknenad) February 3, 2022
I don't think this is good news for anyone who wants to move on from Cousins in 2022 https://t.co/xGSZsSLayf
— Keith Brake (@The_BrakeDown) February 3, 2022
We screwed. Ain’t no one out there that can turn it around fast enough to keep Cook and JJ. Do NOT hire a Rams coordinator. It will be a big mistake. That team may be in the SB and could win but they make too many mistakes whether it be play calls or schemes. #Skol https://t.co/YL56qwrPin
— Dead Birds (@DeadBirds8) February 3, 2022
One thing is certain. While the Washington Commanders (or any of their other previous names) haven’t enjoyed much success in a while, they’ve had some impressive assistants in recent years.
Kevin O'Connell took over as Jay Gruden's OC in DC when McVay left. Then he joined up with McVay again in LA when Rivera was hired. That would make 4 former @Commanders offensive assistants running teams in the NFC. 25% of the conference. https://t.co/oMGdl9wkGH
— Grant Paulsen (@granthpaulsen) February 3, 2022
O’Connell,36, is a change of pace for the Vikings in one respect — he’s an offensive coach. Prior to becoming a head coach, Mike Zimmer’s background was in defense. The same was true for Minnesota’s previous coach, Leslie Frazier.
The former San Diego State star quarterback has had several assistant coaching jobs since his NFL-playing career ended in 2012. He was a quarterbacks coach for the Cleveland Browns in 2015 and a special projects coach for the San Francisco 49ers in 2016. He then went to Washington, where he served as the quarterbacks coach in 2017 and 2018, before becoming the offensive coordinator in 2019. He became the Rams offensive coordinator in 2020 and has held that job for the last two seasons.