Ed Donatell’s Mastermind Lands in Miami

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When the Minnesota Vikings hired Kevin O’Connell as their head coach entering the 2022 season, the goal was to provide more of an offensive-minded approach. Moving on from Mike Zimmer meant the new ball coach needed to get his defensive coordinator right. He hired Ed Donatell, which went poorly, while it was Vic Fangio who he may have wanted.

Working as the Denver Broncos head coach from 2019-2021, Vic Fangio’s defense proved to be one of the better units across the entire league. Ed Donatell was running the group, but with a strong defensive background, it seems Fangio may have been the one calling the shots. Either way, O’Connell attributed the success to Donatell and went that direction for Minnesota’s defense.

Ed Donatell’s Mastermind Lands in Miami

Now, after a season spent as a defensive consultant for the Philadelphia Eagles, Fangio will again be back on the sidelines as a coordinator.

Mike McDaniel had a solid first season with the Miami Dolphins, although they faltered down the stretch as Tua Tagovailoa was injured. Needing a better effort in year two, McDaniel tabbed Fangio as his coordinator, and the organization is paying handsomely to do so.

Mastermind Lands
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It remains to be seen whether Donatell will get another chance, which probably won’t happen during this coaching cycle. It is notable that Fangio secured a highly coveted role before Donatell and will likely be attributed with much more of the Broncos success given how poorly Donatell showed this season with the Vikings.

Minnesota could have afforded to fire Donatell weeks ago, and a change for the defensive unit may have made the difference in pushing their abilities in the playoffs. That said, they moved on following the season and are now looking for his replacement. Being better than the second-to-worst team in the league isn’t much of a high bar, but if the Vikings are going to stave off regression next season, they’ll need to start there.

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Many names have been connected to Minnesota’s vacancy, but the position has yet to be filled. Former Dolphins coach Brian Flores is one of such coveted candidates, but he is also still in play for head coaching jobs. Current Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero is another highly desirable name for Minnesota, but he, too, is in the running for head coaching positions.

With the Broncos recently hiring Sean Payton, it is possible he would prefer to keep Evero on his staff. However, knowing how the former Saints coach has dealt with the Vikings in the past, it would be disappointing to lose something they may want to him again.

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No matter who the Vikings hire at defensive coordinator, the result should be better than what Donatell gave Minnesota. Fangio should have a chance to prove the Broncos defense was a reflection of his abilities, and O’Connell may have been duped all along.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.