The Minnesota Vikings organization, spearheaded by general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, introduced new head coach Kevin O’Connell to Minnesota fans during a press conference last week.
One thing that caught my eye as Adofo-Mensah publicly introduced O’Connell to Vikings fans was how O’Connell could not help but smile the entire time.
After eight years of mediocracy and frustration during the Mike Zimmer era, it was refreshing to see a new face come to town with genuine excitement to deliver for a fan base deserving of a title-contending team.
“This is a franchise with a deep history and a tremendous fan base. Having been on the visitors’ sideline at U.S. Bank Stadium and experiencing that environment as an opposing coach, I am excited to now have the support of these passionate Vikings fans. I am committed to working tirelessly to bring them a Super Bowl championship,” said O’Connell.
I know that Vikings fans are likely tired of hearing statements like O’Connell’s after Mike Zimmer’s reign in Minnesota and the team’s lack of Super Bowl wins.
However, something about O’Connell’s words seems as if they mean more to me than promises of the past regimes.
At 36 years old, O’Connell is officially the youngest Vikings head coach in franchise history, bringing with him a youthful spirit to an organization that is trying its best to rebrand itself.
It is no secret that the Vikings’ top brass are looking to revitalize the organization by bringing on younger, more innovative minds to steer the team in a new direction.
“He understands what is critical to leading a team that wins at the highest level and he has an ability to simplify the complex, which will help us in problem-solving in all football areas. He is a genuinely positive person who will help create a high-energy internal environment,” said Adofo-Mensah.
As a fan, I’m not sure you can be more excited about the direction that O’Connell and his teams have been on since his start in the National Football League.
After earning his first NFL coaching gig as the quarterbacks coach for the Cleveland Browns, O’Connell made the leap to offensive coordinator for the former Washington Redskins in 2019 before following Rams head coach Sean McVay to Los Angeles where the two won Super Bowl LVI against the Cincinnati Bengals earlier this month.
In just five years in the NFL, O’Connell has made a meteoric rise in his career to become a head coach as well as accomplish the highest feat in the NFL by winning the Super Bowl.
The Vikings have made a statement that it is time to employ young, hungry, proven winners to bring a championship home to Minnesota and I am all for it.
Vikings fans: I know that you have been hurt before by getting your hopes up in the off-season, but trust me, this time feels different.