Even in a Down Year, Vikings Players Love It Here.

A New Era Dawns in Minnesota 
Jun 8, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell. © Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings were not nearly as good in year two under Kevin O’Connell this past season as they were during his first.

Even in a Down Year, Vikings Players Love It Here.

They dealt with a significant amount of roster adversity and struggled to drive consistent momentum. Even in a season where they missed the playoffs and left plenty to be desired, those in the building still had a good time.

Even in a Down
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Earlier on in the season, there was a vocal minority of Vikings fans clamoring for head coach Kevin O’Connell to be shown the door. Despite playing without the best wide receiver in the league and ultimately losing his starting quarterback, O’Connell kept his team afloat. Minnesota ultimately had a shot to get into the playoffs during the last week of the season, and with what they went through, that was impressive in and of itself.

It never seemed that anyone within the organization considered moving on from O’Connell so early. After all, Mike Zimmer was given a lengthy tenure in Minnesota despite multiple opportunities to turn away from what became a dated approach.

Vikings Owner Shares
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O’Connell continued to go about his business and prepare for weeks on a business-as-usual schedule. That obviously resonated with his players because when report cards came out across the league, he was given an “A+” grade along with Super Bowl-winning coach Andy Reid.

Truthfully, the only people that matter in these discussions within an organization are the players and the front office. It seems those groups are aligned in thinking that O’Connell is their guy, and that’s a great thing when trying to create a consistent culture going forward. Notably, the ownership group was also given an “A+” grade to come in first.

Subtract Any
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

The training staff did drop off a bit after a better grade last season, and that’s something for Minnesota to look at internally and figure out where the change came from. Improving there is necessary, but more because something reflects a change of heart. Overall, Minnesota fared very well, and their only other nitpick was the food served.

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.