5 most disappointing Vikings in the blowout loss to the Packers in Week 17
By Nik Edlund
Kevin O’Connell – Head Coach
The Vikings were a huge disappointment and even an embarrassment against the Packers. A lot of that has to fall on the shoulders of head coach Kevin O’Connell.
His play-calling has been questionable during the last couple of weeks, and it was again at Green Bay. Some of his head coaching decisions have also been regrettable, and those loomed large in this one.
One can’t blame O’Connell for the injuries to his offensive line, but to call a dive play on 3rd-and-Goal behind your third-string center was very questionable. He tried the same thing a week ago and also failed. He clearly didn’t learn from that decision.
O’Connell then settled for a field goal which was a bit head-scratching. The fact that the offense wasn’t able to punch it in from one yard out set the tone of the game, and Green Bay took over from that point.
O’Connell has proven to be more of a gambler in his first season, so seeing him settle for three points on that drive was a little shocking.
Later in the first half, he opted for a long field goal instead of going for it on fourth down, and his kicker missed. This gave the Packers excellent field position that they took advantage of, adding three more points to a score that was getting out of hand.
At one point in the game, it was clear that the Vikings’ defense only had 10 men on the field. The announcers knew it, and the players knew it, but Minnesota’s coaching staff did nothing about it. It was 3rd-and-long, and the Packers easily converted, taking advantage of the miscalculated situation.
O’Connell has done a great job as a rookie head coach, but when he’s outcoached, he is outcoached by a mile. He will learn from these experiences, and hopefully, the Vikings won’t be blown out multiple times in 2023.