Shortly after the Jim Harbaugh news surfaced, the Vikings appear to have their new top choice identified. They are targeting Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell for the job, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.
The Vikings appear serious here, with ESPN.com’s Dan Graziano adding the team called its other finalists to inform them they are no longer in the running for the job (Twitter link). That points to a strong indication O’Connell is on board to succeed Mike Zimmer. Minnesota had Giants DC Patrick Graham and Rams DC Raheem Morris positioned as its other finalists, having given each second interviews along with O’Connell.
Although an O’Connell deal cannot be finalized until after Super Bowl LVI, this chain of events points to the Vikings being confident they have their next coach. This process burned the Colts four years ago, with Josh McDaniels backing out of an agreement after Super Bowl LII. But O’Connell does not have the track record of HC hesitancy the ex-Patriots OC did. O’Connell was also a finalist for the Broncos job that went to Nathaniel Hackett, conducted a second interview with the Texans and was on the Jaguars’ second-interview radar.
Harbaugh interviewed for the Vikings’ HC job Wednesday, but the seven-year Michigan coach is staying at the college level. O’Connell, 36, has been the Rams’ offensive coordinator for the past two seasons, joining Sean McVay in Los Angeles after Washington changed regimes in 2020. O’Connell served as Washington’s quarterbacks coach from 2017-18 and moved up to OC in 2019. O’Connell and new Vikings GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah were also both with the 49ers in 2016.
O’Connell will be the Vikings’ first offensive-minded head coach since Brad Childress. The team moved in the defensive direction with its past two HCs — Zimmer and Leslie Frazier — but will now bring in a new play-caller. O’Connell has only been a play-caller for a three-month stretch, doing so after Washington fired Jay Gruden early in the 2019 season. Equipped with Case Keenum and a scuffling Dwayne Haskins, Washington ranked last in offense under O’Connell that year. Matthew Stafford‘s performance in his first Rams slate certainly made a better case for O’Connell this season.
The Vikings choosing O’Connell will mean Graham stays with the Giants as DC. Brian Daboll signed on for Graham to stick around were the Vikings to choose someone else as their head coach. Graham, 43, has been with the Giants for the past two seasons. Daboll and Graham previously worked together in New England. The Vikings going with O’Connell means the Rams will not have another one-and-done defensive coordinator, with Morris not connected to any other jobs. The Chargers made Brandon Staley a one-and-done with the Rams last year.
27 comments on “Vikings Plan To Hire Rams’ Kevin O’Connell”
Seems pretty green to step into a HC position after only one season as an OC….
He was the rams OC for 2 years and He was also the OC in WAS for a season. But yeah, still not a lot of experience. I really do t like hiring OCs that don’t call their own plays.
Worked out pretty well with Reich, and Sirianni is doing well in Philly so far.
Zac Taylor and Sean McVay are in the super bowl. Neither had very much experience before being handed the keys.
Who did Bill Belichik accidentally text to break this news?
He sent one to actor Jerry O’Connell and another to Kevin McDonald from Kids In The Hall.
Will Graham and Morris now join Flores in his suit??
This is ammo for the Rooney Rule supporters, 3 candidates, 2 are minorities and the one that’s arguably the least qualified non minority gets the job
He’s also an offensive coach. As opposed to the other two being DCs.
O’Connell is OC for a SB team with a top 5 offense.. Graham is a DC on a bottom 5 team in the league.. and maybe because Vikings went Defensive coach last time they wanted offensive one..
The team that hired a black GM last week isn’t high on the list of teams getting discriminatory hiring practice side eye.
they had more than 3 total candidates. does the minority candidates advancing to the finalist stage really scream discrimination to me?
A similar but different way to look at it is. If a black man does not hire a black man is it really NFL racism?
I’m not a fan of the rule myself, I’m just saying with the Flores bombshell this week, his lawyers are going to point to this as an example
Why would they use this hiring as an example? Please explain that logic?
He already did…
1) Flores is not suiting just for himself, nor is it just about the Rooney Rule. It’s a class-action suit that sites multiple examples of discrimination and bias against Black coaches.
2) The NFL is at least 67 percent African American
3) As of this moment, the NFL has one African American head coach. Out of 32 positions.
4) As of this moment, out of 9 available job openings, 5 have been filled by white coaches, zero by African American coaches.
5) Another nugget? People have said Leftwich and Eric B. don’t deserve jobs because they are either not play callers or work with Hall of Fame QBs. O’Connell is not a play caller. Hackett was not a play caller, and worked with a Hall of Fame QB.
Statistically, and objectively speaking, this. is. not. normal.
Statistically and objectivity speaking, this is a system that says Black coaches are more than capable of playing the game, but lack the ability to serve as coaches.
You don’t want to use the R word? Fine. The NFL has a caste system. And caste systems are discriminatory.
Alot goes into a selection of coaches. Even qualifications are everything. Congratulations to their selection. Certainly a big moment for O’ Connell and his family. In 2022 the league is putting in place the “Looney Rule”. Thats the one that potential coaches that don’t get selected can go to Roger and voice their dismay.
lol, you have absolutely no idea what O’Connell’s qualifications are or aren’t beyond his job titles.
You didn’t know? Everyone is an expert on here
McVay calls the offensive plays for the Rams. That’s pretty obvious. What O’Connell’s job description is as the “offensive coordinator “ is a mystery. You can the same thing about every team where the head coach calls either the offense or defense.
They do still have to oversee the offense and implement things while the head coach has other responsibilities. It’s not like it’s a trivial job.
McVay gets raided every yr.Look around at the head coaches coming from his system.Young coach already establishing himself around the NFL.
If the POTUS can directly say he’s hiring a specific race for Supreme Court without even considering others thats definition of discrimination..
I’m assuming you mean Reagan when he said he was selecting a white woman, which ended up being Sandra Day O’Connor.
More importantly, we’re talking about the NFL, so please stay on topic
We’ve seen the Raheem Morris movie. It wasn’t something worth seeing again. Try someone who might turn out to be a winner.