Vikings Energy Described as ‘Different and Lighter’

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Aug 14, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

When the Minnesota Vikings moved on from Rick Spielman and Mike Zimmer seven months ago, they requested a brand new culture. And according to a Fox Sports sportscaster, the energy is “different and lighter.”

Curt Menefee stopped by Vikings training camp this week and opined on the culture change. He complimented Zimmer, a friend of his, and explained the change of pace, “And that’s not a knock against Mike Zimmer’s regime. I love Mike; he’s one of my favorite guys. This camp feels lighter. There is a different energy around this team right now. That’s something you can only get by visiting a team at training camp.”

Here’s the full exchange:

Menefee’s words merely confirm the atmosphere at Vikings training camp in the last four weeks — and the previous six months on the whole. While the Vikings encountered notable success under Zimmer — the NFL’s 10th-best record on his watch — the franchise arrived at a standstill over the last two seasons, seeming content with mediocrity or borderline-losing football. Minnesota finished 15-18 (.454) in 2020 and 2021, the 12th-worst record in the league.

So, the team’s ownership, the Wilfs, hired Kwesi Adofo-Mensah as general manager and Kevin O’Connell as head coach to end the stagnancy.

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Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell

Together — at least in the offseason with no real football games played — Adofo-Mensah and O’Connell have inspired an aura of youth and optimism inside a philosophy Adofo-Mensah calls a “competitive rebuild.” The executive wants the Vikings to live in the now — that is, compete for a Super Bowl — while eyeing the future sans a total rip-it-to-shreds rebuild.

That doctrine is why Adofo-Mensah retained most of the team’s core players at a time when he “had every right” to trade players like Kirk Cousins and Danielle Hunter. Adofo-Mensah and O’Connell gleaned from the current depth chart that Minnesota can “win now.”

And Menefee isn’t alone. Two weeks ago, NFL analyst Jay Glazer attended Vikings training camp and effectively echoed Menefee’s sentiments.

Overall, the proof will be in the pudding in September as the Vikings hope to blend “different and lighter” energy with wins and losses. But according to Menefee and Glaser, the organization is evidently on the right path.


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).

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