Kevin O’Connell‘s staff has another addition. The Vikings have hired Matt Daniels as their new special teams coordinator, reports NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (via Twitter).
Daniels, 32, had a four-year playing career in the NFL, split between the Rams, Jaguars and Chargers. Undrafted out of Duke, he was almost exclusively used on special teams while bouncing on and off of practice squads. Three years after his playing days were over, he began coaching in 2018.
Daniels’ first location on the sidelines was the same as his first home on the field. He worked as an assistant special teams coach with the Rams for two seasons. That led him to the Cowboys, where he held the same title for an additional two campaigns. This will be his first time leading a ST unit at the college or NFL level.
In 2021, the Vikings ranked 13th in the league in DVOA on special teams. That was actually a slightly higher ranking than their offensive and defensive units, but still a middle-of-the-pack performance indicative of the team as a whole. Daniels represents a young, comparatively inexperienced coach to lead the unit – not unlike the selection of Wes Phillips as offensive coordinator. With those two, along with O’Connell himself serving as an NFL head coach for the first time, there will be a steep learning curve as the team looks to return to NFC contention.