Why the arrival of Kevin O’Connell means nothing for Kirk Cousins

(Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) Kirk Cousins
(Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) Kirk Cousins /

Some are assuming the reported decision by the Minnesota Vikings to hire Kevin O’Connell as their new head coach is good news for quarterback Kirk Cousins.

Prior to his expected hiring as the next head coach of the Minnesota Vikings, current Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell was the quarterbacks coach for the Washington Commanders in 2017. During this specific season, O’Connell was in charge of getting the most out of the Commanders’ starting signal-caller at the time, Kirk Cousins.

Cousins and the current Rams offensive coordinator only spent one year together in Washington. But for some, this was enough time to indicate that O’Connell’s expected arrival to Minnesota will result in the team holding onto Cousins for at least one more season, or even extend him.

That could turn out to be true. However, O’Connell’s history with the Vikings quarterback probably wasn’t the main reason why the team reportedly selected him to be their next head coach.

Instead, Minnesota likely went with the current Los Angeles offensive coordinator because it would allow them more flexibility when it comes to figuring out what they will do with Cousins during the next few months.

Hiring of Kevin O’Connell as the next Minnesota Vikings head coach does not guarantee Kirk Cousins will stay put in 2022

With the direction that the franchise appears to be heading, the Vikings are probably going to try and trade Cousins this offseason. His departure would free up a ton of cap space and Minnesota could attempt to find a young quarterback in the near future to build around.

However, the Vikings are smart enough to know that dealing him to another team is not going to be an easy task, and there is certainly still a possibility that he could return to the Twin Cities for the 2022 season.

Now, we don’t really know what each of Minnesota’s four head-coaching finalists said when asked about what they would do with Cousins moving forward. But we can probably guess that O’Connell told the Vikings that he is open to working with whatever quarterback is at the top of the team’s depth chart when training camp begins this summer.

During his coaching career in the NFL, O’Connell has worked with a wide variety of quarterbacks including Cousins, Matthew Stafford, Johnny Manziel, Josh McCown, Josh Johnson, Colt McCoy, Mark Sanchez, Alex Smith, Case Keenum, Dwayne Haskins, and Jared Goff.

O’Connell has experience with just about every type of quarterback in the NFL today. This is why we can’t assume that his arrival to Minnesota guarantees that Cousins isn’t going to be dealt to another team this year.

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Keeping their current starting quarterback this offseason isn’t out of the question for the Vikings. But with O’Connell as their head coach, there are definitely more paths Minnesota can take during the next few months when it comes to Cousins.