Kevin O’Connell Is Aware of Your Request

Did the Vikings Hire
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

“I just wish they’d be a little bit more aggressive to close out games.”

That’s a common request among Minnesota Vikings fans in the last three weeks, as the purple team failed to step on the Denver Broncos’ or Chicago Bears’ throats down the stretch of games in Weeks 11 and 12. Minnesota lost accordingly, creating a regrettable and untimely two-game skid.

Kevin O’Connell Is Aware of Your Request

And unless head coach Kevin O’Connell was bluffing to reporters this week, he plans to fix it.

Connell Is Aware
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports.

Against the Chicago Bears in Week 12, O’Connell’s quarterback Joshua Dobbs struggled obscenely on Monday Night Football, handing out interceptions like Costco samples. So, when the game was on the line, O’Connell “played it safe” on offense, running the ball twice and setting up a doomed-from-the-start screen play that, of course, failed.

None of that poppycock should happen again or will at least be reduced, says the Vikings skipper.

The Vikings National
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

“As a team, what can we do better to close games? How can we be as coaches? Can we be more aggressive, can we be smarter with how we’re handling the end-of-game situations?” O’Connell mused out loud to KFAN‘s Paul Allen.

Minnesota has a 6-6 record entering Week 14 and a coinflip’s chance of reaching the playoffs, according to ESPN.

O’Connell continued, “You’re making decisions as an offense to limit risk, knowing maybe you’re not completely at full capacity as far as your personnel goes. But I do believe in the end, where we’re going to get to as a football team this year, we’re going to have to find ways to win football games, finish football games. If that takes being a little bit more aggressive and bucking the traditional trends of the clock and field position and all those things, so be it.”

Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings’ defense, too, retreated to its turtle shell versus the Broncos and Bears, playing aggressively for about 55 minutes during each game but banking on conservatism with both contests in the balance. Perhaps that will stop as well.

“We’re going to do what we feel is best, each and every opportunity we have left. That’s our job as coaches, and we’ll continue to improve on that,” O’Connell continued.

It was rather apparent against Chicago that O’Connell believed his offense — mainly Dobbs — would turn the ball over again. Therefore, he trusted an otherwise hot defense to bring it home. The plan didn’t work against the Broncos or Bears, and O’Connell seems to have learned a lesson.

Silly Narrative Laughable
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

No matter the personnel, O’Connell got the memo. He hears you. No more late-game wimpy strategies is the takeaway.

Minnesota plays the Las Vegas Raiders Sunday on the road and is favored to win by a field goal.

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 Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by