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Vikings Officially Announce Kevin O'Connell As Head Coach

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The Vikings have officially announced Super Bowl champion Kevin O'Connell as the team's new head coach.

In a message posted Wednesday on the Vikings website, O'Connell said that he "could not be more excited" to be coming to Minnesota.

"So great to have you guys aboard," he said. "Can't wait to see everyone out at U.S. Bank Stadium this year. Skol Vikings!"

O'Connell comes to Minnesota after a two-year stint as offensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams, who just beat the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI.

"This is a franchise with a deep history and a tremendous fan base," O'Connell said. "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."

At just 36, O'Connell matches the recent trend of hiring a young, offensive-minded coach, which began in 2017 with Rams head coach Sean McVay and the 49ers' Kyle Shanahan. Including McVay, Shanahan and O'Connell, 15 of 32 NFL head coaches are under 45. Just two of those 15 come from a defensive background.

"As I spent time with Kevin during the interview process, it became immediately clear he will be a great partner in building this football team for long-term success," new general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said. "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."

Owner Mark Wilf called O'Connell a "strong leader, innovative coach and excellent communicator," while his brother and fellow owner Zygi Wilf said O'Connell "has a tremendous football IQ."

A former quarterback, O'Connell was drafted by the New England Patriots in the third round in 2008. He threw just six passes in his career, and was out of the league by 2012.

His coaching career began in 2015 with the Cleveland Browns, and after working for the 49ers for a season, he joined the Washington staff in 2017. While there, he worked with current Vikings QB Kirk Cousins.

The Rams offense ranked seventh and ninth in points and yards, respectively, this past season. They got off to a 7-1 start, averaging almost 31 points a game over that stretch. Over the final nine games, that average dropped to 24 points, and the team went 5-4.

In the Super Bowl, O'Connell's offense put up 23 points and 313 yards. Quarterback Matt Stafford went 26/40 for 283 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. The running game managed just 43 yards on 23 carries.

The Vikings fired Mike Zimmer a day after the 2021 season ended, along with GM Rick Spielman. Spielman's replacement, Adofo-Mensah, was announced last month.

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