Kevin O’Connell Takes the Slime

Kevin O'Connell Takes the Slime
Kevin O'Connell and a Slime Guy

Need evidence that the Minnesota Vikings fundamentally feel different than years past? Oh, do we have the video for you.

The Vikings social media department posted the following video on Wednesday night, showing head coach Kevin O’Connell taking a bucket of green slime on the head in a collaborative team-building sequence.

The Vikings hired O’Connell in February after he offensively coordinated the Los Angeles Rams to a Super Bowl triumph over the Cincinnati Bengals. To date, the Sean McVay coaching tree, where O’Connell was reared, has produced fabulous head coaches, including Matt LaFleur (Packers), Zac Taylor (Bengals), Brandon Staley (Chargers), and now O’Connell.

Of course, O’Connell has a long way to get before identification as a LaFleur-like coach, but the Vikings did win during his first head coaching experience last week. Accordingly, enthusiasm for Minnesota soared as national pundits and Vegas sportsbooks took notice of the new-look Vikings. Minnesota climbed from +3600 Super Bowl odds to +2400 from Week 1 to Week 2.

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And the fun evidently extended to players and the locker room as folks were allowed to introduce slime into team operations. While the physical presence of slime is “no big deal,” the lightheartedness of its use is a steep departure from how Minnesota used to do things.

Down the stretch of the Mike Zimmer era, the atmosphere in Eagan, Minnesota, was reportedly rigid and tight-lipped. Following the exoduses of Zimmer and his boss Rick Spielman, reports indicated the culture had calcified over the last two seasons. Unsurprisingly, 2020 and 2021 marked the start of the Vikings tumble into mediocrity, too.

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Jul 29, 2022; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Reaction to the slime video was positive, and most commenters and retweeters asserted that “Zimmer would never do this,” or something to that effect. Those folks likely aren’t wrong. It would’ve indeed been bizarre to see the slime tomfoolery anywhere associated with the Vikings from 2014 to 2021.

Last week, the Vikings started the 2022 season 1-0, downing the Green Bay Packers by a score of 23-7 in Minneapolis. Minnesota’s offense, defense, and special teams shined, while Green Bay’s everything failed to click. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was irritated for most of the game, and the team only scored once.

Up next? Minnesota travels to Philadelphia for a date with the Eagles on Monday Night Football. The Vikings are not historically a prosperous road Monday Night Football team, so the Week 2 game serves as a litmus test for the new regime. The Eagles are favored over the Vikings by 2.5 points.

Perhaps an even larger bucket of slime will be on the agenda if Minnesota pulls out a win.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).