What to Expect from Kevin O’Connell’s first season in Minnesota

The Vikings will enter the 2022 NFL season under new leadership. In January, Minnesota hired Kwesi Adofo-Mensah as the team’s new General Manager. After interviewing numerous candidates, the Vikings struck a deal with former Rams offensive coordinator and New England Patriots quarterback, Kevin O’Connell. O’Connell is one of ten head coaches going into their first year with a new team.

The former Rams offensive coordinator brings a modernized pass-first offense which is the exact opposite that the previous coaching staff led by Mike Zimmer ran during their time in the twin cities. O’Connell brings the perspective of a former player and will be able to relate to the locker room, especially to his quarterbacks. He worked with current Vikings Quarterback Kirk Cousins for one year in Washington, serving as the team’s quarterback coach. This relationship with Minnesota’s quarterback is huge as Cousins will have some prior knowledge of the ways O’Connell wants things done.

The other player who will greatly benefit from O’Connell’s presence is sophomore quarterback Kellen Mond. Mond and O’Connell both had eerily similar starts to their playing careers, both players being selected in the third round to teams that already had a veteran starter under-center. O’Connell will be able to relate to Mond in a way that others cannot and this will be crucial to Mond’s future success.

O’Connell will run the offense through star wide receiver Justin Jefferson just as the Rams did with Cooper Kupp in 2021. Jefferson will have a bigger role than anyone else on the team and will look to continue his historic young success. It is yet to be seen how the team will utilize Dalvin Cook, but early reports from mini camp state that Cook has lined up out wide as well as in his normal position.

With all this in mind, Vikings fans have a lot to look forward to under O’Connell’s new regime. Minnesota is poised to be one of the league’s premier young teams. With Adofo-Mensah and O’Connell running the show in the Twin Cities, the ceiling for the Vikings in 2022 is astronomical.