Vikings Legend Agrees with Donatell Decision

1972 SEASON: Green Bay Packers quarterback Scott Hunter (16) tries to scramble away from Minnesota Vikings safety Paul Krause (22) as Vikings defensive end Carl Eller (81) closes in at Lambeau Field on Oct. 29, 1972. © USA TODAY NETWORK-Wis. file via Imagn Content Services, LLC.

All season long, the Minnesota Vikings had a substantial glaring issue. Despite racking up wins in exciting fashion, they needed to come from behind with a lackluster defense. Now coordinator Ed Donatell is gone, and legendary safety Paul Krause thinks it was the right move.

To say Ed Donatell making it through the entire season for Minnesota was a surprise shouldn’t be controversial. Sure, Kevin O’Connell’s team kept winning, but they did it despite a terrible defense that was even poorer on the coaching side. Donatell switched the scheme to a 3-4, but he did little to make that change work. Had the Vikings found themselves behind the win column at any point, there is no denying Donatell would have been the first to go.

Vikings Legend Agrees with Donatell Decision

On Thursday night, the Vikings made official what many thought may have been coming, Donatell was done. In a suite for Sunday’s playoff game against the New York Giants, former safety Paul Krause looked on with disgust. He has played plenty of downs in the NFL and knows how a good defense should look. What Donatell put out there was not it.

Beyond knowing that the way Donatell ran a 3-4 wouldn’t work, Krause also sees that there is more change coming. Although he was in favor of Donatell being shown the door, he doesn’t believe the Vikings must be forced into a total upheaval.

Speaking on the Vikings current personnel, Krause told reporter Chris Tomasson, “I think they have talent. I don’t think this is an event where you have to throw 15 (defensive guys away). I think there is some good talent but they just have to be taught different ways to play.”

Vikings Legend Agrees with
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

One would have to think that general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah will have a substantial amount of tough decisions to make this offseason. The Minnesota defense has become both old and expensive in several key spots. That will need to be addressed to expand the salary cap room. It is worth wondering if certain players may show better in a different scheme or under better coaching, but change is indeed coming.

It’s never easy for a coach to be fired, and the reality is that someone’s family is then facing new challenges. Rooting for Donatell to be let go would have been somewhat of a difficult task in and of itself. The reality, however, is that Minnesota failed to get it done every week. Donatell’s defense went through a stretch allowing multiple opponents to rack up more than 400 yards per game against them. It was clear that while Donatell said the right things regarding change, little actually stuck.

Vikings Exercise Addition
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

When an NFL Hall of Famer, former Super Bowl champion, and eight-time Pro Bowl selection like Krause talks, people are going to listen. Although the game is different now than it was in the 1970s, Krause’s opinion holds weight, and his understanding of defensive game planning shouldn’t be overlooked.

It’s now on O’Connell to get his hire for the defense right and turn the page on a unit that cannot afford to be this bad again in 2023.

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.