“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”
-Mike Tyson, warrior poet
Following their Week 1 victory over the Green Bay Packers, the Minnesota Vikings were flying high. . .and why wouldn’t they be? They got a big win over the team that’s won this division three years in a row to start their first season under a new head coach and did so in pretty convincing fashion.
Of course, as we all know, that gave way to what we saw on Monday Night Football in Philadelphia. The offense couldn’t get things going (and shot themselves in the foot when they did) and the defense seemed completely unprepared in a lopsided loss to a team that looks to be one of the NFC’s best.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is where the Kevin O’Connell era officially begins.
Anyone can say or do all of the right things when everything is all rainbows and duckies and bunnies and whatnot. But now O’Connell has to come back for a team with a short turn-around and figure out how to handle a team that’s suddenly pretty darn feisty in the Detroit Lions. Whether or not he can do it will likely set the tone for the rest of this season and, potentially, for the next couple of seasons as this team’s leader.
To his credit, O’Connell came out immediately after the loss and took the blame, saying that he “didn’t do enough” to get the team prepared for Monday night and that he was going to get things fixed before this Sunday’s game. That’s certainly a refreshing thing to hear from a head coach, but now it’s time to see whether or not he can deliver on that promise.
This team still has a ton of talent on both sides of the ball, and it’s quite likely that by the time the season ends a prime-time loss in Philadelphia is not going to look all that awful. Yes, it was a rough game all around for the Vikings this past week, but there are still fifteen more games to go and plenty of time for this team to right the proverbial ship.
O’Connell, who is the second-youngest head coach in the league, is going to get an opportunity to have his team bounce back in a home game against a divisional opponent. His charges seem to have faith that he can do that, and honestly I hope that he can. Taking down the Lions at home would help to build some momentum going into the long trip to London in Week 4 and help to cleanse the bitter taste of what we saw on Monday.
The first two weeks were a chance for Kevin O’Connell to get his feet wet on the Minnesota sidelines. Now, his tenure as the tenth head coach in Minnesota Vikings history is well and truly about to get started.