The 2-Year Clock Starts Thursday for Vikings

Vegas Has an Odd Beef with Kevin O'Connell
Kevin O'Connell

The Minnesota Vikings’ ownership moved on from Rick Spielman and Mike Zimmer in hopes of ushering a new generation of football into the franchise. While Kirk Cousins was still employed, it was clear a long-term answer with other assets on the roster would be key.

The 2-Year Clock Starts Thursday for Vikings

Thus far, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has helped rebuild the roster while attempting to keep the Vikings competitive. In year one, Kevin O’Connell orchestrated tight games to guide his group to the playoffs. Last season brought adversity in the form of injuries that couldn’t be overcome, and Minnesota felt a substantial slide.

Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

The upcoming NFL Draft is going to start a proverbial clock for the organization’s leaders. While Sam Darnold would be a nice name to see work, he’s ultimately not viewed as the long-term answer at the quarterback position. A new rookie prospect will be brought in to take over in the future, and you only get one chance to get that spot right.

Expected to sacrifice significant draft capital to move up in the draft, Minnesota will only have one pick this year and may not have one next year. With that level of commitment made towards one player, you can’t afford to have it go sideways. Drake Maye, J.J. McCarthy, or even Jayden Daniels will come with a learning curve, but it can’t be so steep that there are serious questions in year two.

can grab momentum
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Minnesota’s owners will give their leaders time to see if things can work. Development isn’t linear, and the system O’Connell runs is complex. Pulling the plug in year one or before the conclusion of year two would be a significant knee-jerk reaction. That isn’t good for anyone involved and isn’t operating procedure across the league.

Regardless of a relative leash being handed to the guys involved with a quarterback pick, there’s no doubt the clock immediately begins ticking. From the moment a prospect steps onto the practice field, they must start establishing themselves as a high-level future starter. Once they get into a game, there can’t be regression on a long-term basis.

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports.

How well O’Connell can develop this playcaller in his image and how aligned Adofo-Mensah is on the player that his coach needs will ultimately be the recipe for success in the situation as a whole.

NFL owners don’t typically wait too long to decide if their organization is trending in the right direction. By allowing the franchise leaders to make such a monumental decision, there will be some sort of feeling-out period, but the pressure has been mounting for months and doesn’t decrease once the decision is made.

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.