5 things Kevin O’Connell needs to improve in his second season with the Vikings

(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) Kevin O'Connell
(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) Kevin O'Connell /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) Kevin O’Connell /

No more cute play-calling

When Kevin O’Connell was hired, the first thought by many Vikings fans was how creative the team’s offense would become.

He came from working under Sean McVay, who was known for thinking outside of the box when it came to offensive game planning and play calling. McVay found ways to free up Cooper Kupp, and the hopes were high that O’Connell would do the same for Justin Jefferson and that he did.

It was also said that we would see a modern NFL offense. One that uses jet sweeps, has multiple backs in the backfield at the same time, and lines up receivers and backs all over the place to create and exploit mismatches.

A lot of that did happen, but what also happened was some too-cutesy play calling that ended up biting the Vikings in the butt more times than not.

We saw O’Connell try some passes off of jet sweeps, we saw jump passes, we saw jet sweeps to the fullback, and we saw a wide receiver throwback to the quarterback on a designed run. While it is nice to try some different things from time to time, the problem was when a lot of these plays were called.

O’Connell was calling these plays on 3rd-and-1, or even goal-line situations. Why get cute when you have studs on your team who thrive on making these clutch plays?

When Justin Jefferson, Dalvin Cook, T.J. Hockenson, and even Adam Thielen are on your team, there’s no reason to bust out a trick. Just put the ball in your playmakers’ hands and let them do the rest.

Surely, O’Connell learned from this in year one, and next year when the team is 3rd-and-short, we will see something more conventional like a Cousins’ sneak or a quick hitter to Jefferson or Hockenson.