The Minnesota Vikings welcomed a change of philosophy when they hired Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell this offseason. The team has not yet played a single snap during their short tenures, although each man has offered clues to what the season may hold in some illuminating statements. Here are five quotes that indicate what Vikings fans might expect this season.
“The way we look at it is, we’re trying to navigate both worlds, we’re trying to live in today and tomorrow, or the competitive rebuild, however you want to phrase it or market it, and so I think that’s kind of how we’ve approached this offseason and our time horizons going forward.” – Kwesi Adofo-Mensah
Adofo-Mensah’s “competitive rebuild” quote garnered a lot of attention when he first coined the phrase in March. It scared a lot of fans then, and it probably will continue to do so until they see some meaningful football. During his time at the helm, Rick Spielman also tried to achieve this perfect balance of building for the future while also contending in the present.
As we all know to painfully well, that vision was never fully realized. A lot of Vikings fans had hoped Adofo-Mensah would fully commit to either a rebuild or a Super Bowl push. Will the Vikings of the next few years be more of the same, or does Kwesi have that secret sauce?
“Yes, I do plan on calling the [offensive] plays. My career as a player provided a great platform for me as a coach because I did spend a lot of time watching games from the sideline.” – Kevin O’Connell
Mike Zimmer famously called the plays on the defensive side of the ball, and now O’Connell will look to do the same on the offensive side. He was not the play-caller in Los Angeles, so that leaves room for concern that there might be some growing pains. However, if he calls plays anything like Sean McVay can, there won’t be any complaints. Just throw past the sticks on third down and force-feed Justin Jefferson and most fans will be happy.
“I always say a coach that I would work with, I would work for.” – Kwesi Adofo-Mensah
At this point, it’s no real secret that by the end of their time together, Mike Zimmer and Rick Spielman weren’t exactly seeing eye to eye. Zimmer’s famous quote about having no interest in seeing Kellen Mond play was a very public slap to the face to Spielman. Adofo-Mensah immediately made sure to squash any preconceived notions that he and his head coach would not have a great working relationship.
Not to say there won’t be bumps in the road, but it’s certainly refreshing to hear that the GM views his coach as his equal.Hopefully we can avoid the petty mind games of the last regime. Is the world ready for Kellen Mond, QB2?
“Do I love the fact that the day ended right there with the defense making a red-zone turnover? Absolutely I do, because I’m coaching everybody out here.” – Kevin O’Connell
This quote comes to us from the last day of the off-season program, and let’s just say it reflects quite a different viewpoint from certain members of the previous staff. O’Connell is a very offensive-minded coach, but the fact that he gets excited about his defense is a welcome sign.
We have already learned the defense will look quite different, something of a hybrid 3-4. While no one really expects the offense to struggle this season, the defense provides a lot more questions than answers. To hear that the head coach is rolling up his sleeves to work with that unit helps to put some concerns to rest.
5. A New Hope
“I’m excited to stand in front of this team, lead from the front, and they’re going to get my very best every single day. And I think they’ll feel that, and in the end, I want these players to know I care about them.” – Kevin O’Connell
From the beginning, O’Connell has emphasized that he wants to build a culture and a connection with this team. It’s a lot easier to play for a coach who has your back no matter the situation. Whether or not this translates to great play on the field has yet to be seen, but no one can argue that KOC doesn’t care about his players.
Both GM and coach have said all the right things so far, leaving fans and players alike excited for the 2022 campaign. Finally, there is one last quote to touch on. This one comes from a devoted fan anticipating the new season.
“Please have a good year, I am begging you, Vikings! I need this!” – Trevor Ripley