Kevin O’Connell Dispels Monday Night Football Conspiracy Theory

Aug 3, 2023; Eagan, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell talks to players during training camp at TCO Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

While the Minnesota Vikings were beating the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football, the television announcing crew thought it wise to suggest a foul-play tactic by Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell.

Kevin O’Connell Dispels Monday Night Football Conspiracy Theory

San Francisco lost to Minnesota at U.S. Bank Stadium, dropping to 5-2 on the season, with the Vikings at 3-4 and a smooth schedule afoot for the next six weeks.

Dispels Monday Night
Nov 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson (87) celebrates his touchdown against the New England Patriots during the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

And in the 2nd Quarter, when Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson was briefly injured, O’Connell told his playmaker to stay down on the turf. MNF broadcaster Joe Buck seized on the event and said, “We just caught Kevin O’Connell, on camera, saying ‘T.J., go down.'”

Buck’s boothmate and Hall of Famer Troy Aikman chimed in, “Buy them some time.”

Nov 22, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Fox announcers Troy Aikman (left) and Joe Buck on the field prior to the game with the Dallas Cowboys playing against the Washington Redskins on Thanksgiving at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE.

The pair seemed to hint that the Vikings were up to no good, implying O’Connell was playing tricks on the referees to milk the Hockenson injury — which didn’t make too much sense as it all happened in the middle of the 2nd Quarter.

But after the game, O’Connell explained the transaction to reporters, “Yeah, it was more so about if he is coming out, similar to what you guys saw when we took a delay in a game earlier this year. When a guy comes on or comes off late, we are pretty meticulous about what personnel is on the field and what we’re going to call with those guys on the game. Just allows us a chance to reset.”

Oct 15, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell looks up at the scoreboard in the second half against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports.

Buck’s use of the word “caught” insinuated O’Connell was up to no good and attempting to manipulate the system. In reality, conspiracy theories aside, O’Connell wanted to avoid a delay of game infraction or an illegal amount of players on the field.

“He was injured, so I credit all of our guys’ toughness, but sometimes, depending on the time of the game and situation of the game where the clock really is not an issue, he was able to come back in the game from that, which was really impressive,” O’Connell added.

Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell at 2023 mandatory minicamp in Eagan. The Vikings won 13 games in O’Connell’s first season as head coach. He previously won a Super Bowl with the Los Angeles Rams as offensive coordinator in 2021.

Had the Vikings been without timeouts and if the injury occurred late in the 4th Quarter, the tongue-in-cheek gotcha moment from Buck and Aikman would’ve had some legs. However, in the real world, O’Connell merely wanted to avoid a gaffe with too many men on the field or a delay of game infraction.

Like most conspiracy theories, there was a method to O’Connnell’s faux madness.

The Vikings travel to Green Bay this Sunday for a date with the Packers. Neither team is favored to win; the point spread is even


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 OverTheCap.com.

Share: