5 most disappointing Vikings in the playoff loss to the Giants

(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Eric Kendricks
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Eric Kendricks /
6 of 6
Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Kirk Cousins /

Kevin O’Connell – Head Coach

Kevin O’Connell has done great things for the Vikings since being named their head coach. He’s brought the whole team together, has created a fun and laid-back work environment, and has, most importantly, led the team to a 13-5 record on the season. All that being said, his decisions in the Wild Card game against the Giants were very disappointing.

Play calling is the biggest question mark coming from the loss on Sunday. Why he decides to get cute on short-yardage situations in critical moments of games is anyone’s guess. We have seen it in the past, and he did it again against the Giants.

With a very short 3rd-and-1, O’Connell called a jet sweep throwback to Kirk Cousins, where he was made the primary runner. Maybe he was supposed to throw it again, but by the time he got the ball, there were already two defenders bearing down on him.

He tucked it and ran and lost a couple of yards in the process. There was no reason to pull a trick play in that situation, and it cost the team.

Other decisions that need to be questioned were his lack of utilizing Alexander Mattison. Mattison ran very hard a week prior against the Bears. He looked better than Dalvin Cook, but he didn’t get a single carry against New York. That is inexcusable.

He also failed to get Justin Jefferson involved in the second half of the game, and the star wideout didn’t even get a target in the fourth quarter when the Vikings’ season was on the line.

One other factor that O’Connell needs to be called out on is the fact he stuck with defensive coordinator Ed Donatell. Donatell’s defense was at its worst when it mattered the most, and we saw the same base defense with soft coverage and no blitzes the majority of the game.

The guy should never have still been in charge of that side of the ball, as O’Connell should’ve relieved him of his duties after the Dallas debacle and then again when his unit gave up huge yardage to subpar quarterbacks like Mac Jones and Mike White.

While this wasn’t O’Connell’s finest moment, he’ll learn from this and be better in the future. The Vikings are in good hands, and the future is bright, even after this dark ending to the 2022 season.

Trending. 8 Vikings that need to be gone before the 2023 season. light