We’re still into list-a-mania season as the National Football League trudges towards Training Camp. One such list doesn’t appear to think too highly of the new head coach of the Minnesota Vikings, Kevin O’Connell, and while it’s kind of understandable, it’s still a little bit shocking as well.
Mike Kaye of the Pro Football Network has placed O’Connell at #32 on his NFL head coach rankings going into the 2022 season. If you’re relatively savvy at math and/or logic, you’ve already figured out that puts him dead last in the league. Now, granted, Kaye put all of the league’s five rookie head coaches at the bottom of his rankings, but to see O’Connell be placed last out of that group seems a little weird.
Here’s what Kaye had to say about O’Connell:
Kevin O’Connell, despite being a former NFL QB and coordinator, is the mystery man among the head-coaching ranks. While the Vikings kept their roster mostly in place, O’Connell will clearly bring his own ideas to the table. O’Connell is a true wild card, for better or worse.
The other four new rookie head coaches are Mike (not Matt) McDaniel (Miami Dolphins), Brian Daboll (New York Giants), Nathaniel Hackett (Denver Broncos), and Matt Eberflus (Chicago Bears). There are other teams with new coaches this season, but those new coaches have all been head coaches somewhere before.
Of the five rookie head coaches, you could make a pretty convincing argument that O’Connell is stepping into the best situation. The Vikings still have a pretty talented roster and should be able to contend for the postseason at the very least in 2022.
Even with the issues that Mike Zimmer had towards the end of his tenure in Minnesota, he still regularly ranked in the top half of lists like these, and usually even made his way into the Top Ten. If Kevin O’Connell can provide the spark that this team needs as a part of their fresh start, he’s going to be a whole lot higher than #32 on this list when it comes out next offseason.
(Hat tip to the folks at Vikings Territory for seeing this list before I did.)