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'We Got A Lot Of Work To Do': Vikings Introduce New Coordinators

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Vikings fans got their first look at the architects of the revamped team Thursday.

Coordinators Ed Donatell (defense), Wes Phillips (offense) and Matt Daniels (special teams) offered up their visions of their units at a press conference.

Here are the major takeaways from each:


Donatell, who's mostly known for coaching defenses with a 3-4 front (meaning three men on the line of scrimmage and four linebackers behind them), said the Vikings will use both fronts in an effort to confuse opposing offenses.

"Just know, we'll have both fronts, and that will make us hard to play against," he said.

Donatell said Danielle Hunter, the Vikings' oft-injured but otherworldly talented defensive end, will play both his natural position and outside linebacker in the new scheme.

As for his philosophy of the defense as a whole, Donatell said setting edges, tackling and turnovers will be the pillars.

"We got a lot of work to do, but nobody's gonna have more fun than we are," he said. "We're gonna have a good time."


Phillips, who was the tight ends coach and passing game coordinator in Los Angeles with Kevin O'Connell last year, said he's excited to work with Kirk Cousins.

"I worked with Kirk in Washington, had a great relationship with Kirk," Phillips said. "Incredibly accurate quarterback. He's a real pro to work with, he grinds at it, he's in the building and the guys know it."

O'Connell said he brought in Phillips to run the offense because he knows "how to go score."

"There's nobody else I could've brought with me that could be more aligned with how I see the game," O'Connell said.

Coming from Mike Zimmer, a head coach who was obstinate in his desire to run the football, Phillips' opinions on the run game may be refreshing for Vikings fans.

"Any coordinator that's any good will tell you the running game is important," Phillips said, "but I would say that winning the game is most important."


Daniels says his special teams unit will have "a simple approach but an aggressive mindset" and will do "less thinking, more reacting."

"My responsibility is to put these guys in the best situation to make plays," he said.

Daniels played three years in the NFL, mostly on special teams, and said he knew from his rookie season he wanted to coach that aspect of the game.

"I liked to consider myself a special teams demon," he said.

Daniels said one of the first people he called when he took the job was kick returner Kene Nwangwu, who had two touchdowns on kickoffs in his rookie year.

"An elite returner in this league," Daniels said. "A guy who's very dangerous with the football."

O'Connell said what drew him to Daniels was his connection with players.

"Could not be more excited about him," O'Connell said. "I think our players will feel it from day one."

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