Kevin O’Connell Drops One Hint about QB Decision

Strange Comment
Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings are unbeatable under Kevin O’Connell when they don’t lose the turnover battle. Plain and simple. No yeah-buts or wiggle room. It’s gridiron science in Minneapolis.

Kevin O’Connell Drops One Hint about QB Decision

Here are the numbers:

Vikings Win-Loss Record,
with Kevin O’Connell,
per Turnover Differential:

TO Differential 0 or Better: 17-0 (1.00)
TO Differential -1 or Worse: 3-12 (.200)

Drops One Hint
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

And that’s just the way it is. Minnesota wins with this coaching staff when players don’t fumble or toss interceptions. So naturally, O’Connell wants one primary prerequisite from his Week 17 starting quarterback — protect the football.

To set the table, O’Connell has not decided on a QB1 for New Year’s Eve, a matchup against the Green Bay Packers where one team is virtually eliminated, and the other has a chance to win in Week 18 and perhaps reach the playoffs. “We’re working through that right now, making sure we go through a full evaluation process of the Lions game, of course, but going back to the Bengals game and taking inventory of both of Nick’s starts and when he came into the game against the Raiders, as well,” O’Connell told reporters on Tuesday.

Announce QB
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Minnesota is favored by two points to take down Green Bay, and if it wins over the Packers and beats the Lions in Detroit during Week 18, the Vikings would need a single loss in four games from either the Los Angeles Rams or Seattle Seahawks to enter the postseason.

The qualifying factor for O’Connell appears to be turnovers. That is — which man can get the ball downfield to Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison (if Addison plays; he’s day-to-day with an ankle injury) while minimizing interceptions and fumbles?

“We’ve had some turnovers. There’s no doubt about it, and the interceptions have kind of been the story for much of the year since we lost Kirk at that position, and we’re trying to work through what we feel gives us the best chance to still be explosive like we were moving the football the other day against the Lions but we’ve got to find a way to still possess the football and not set our team back,” O’Connell told the media.

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports.

Nick Mullens has delivered six interceptions in a start at the Cincinnati Bengals and then one at home versus the Lions. The man is gunslinging chaos merchant who would make Josey Wales jealous.

O’Connell concluded, “All three of those guys are worthy of being involved in that discussion. We’ll make the best decision in the interest of winning games.”

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings fans will likely take from those O’Connell quotes what they want to hear, but the criteria are simple: Minnesota doesn’t care about its draft pick(s) relating to the season’s final games and will start whichever passer protects the football, makes explosive plays, and provides the best chance to win.

The choice is between Mullens, Joshua Dobbs, and Jaren Hall. O’Connell should announce his man within the next two days.

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