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 Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Kevin O’Connell /

Creating accountability

Kevin O’Connell comes across as a very likable and kind individual. Players rave about the culture he has created in Minnesota. The pregame videos of him talking to his players and telling them he loves them and his emotional post-game speeches proved that he really cares about the members of his team.

While that is all great and fine, a player or coach must be held accountable when they fail to do their job. There is one thing about giving a guy a chance or two, or even three, but if someone continues to be a liability, then repercussions need to happen.

Greg Joseph is a perfect example. The guy had been shaky all season long. In some games, he was perfect, but in others, he was missing extra points and field goals. He constantly put Minnesota in bad spots and made games much closer than they needed to be because he left crucial points off the board.

Not saying that Joseph needed to be cut, but bringing in someone to at least compete with him in practice would’ve sent a strong signal that he wasn’t doing his job, and if things didn’t change, then the team would go a different route.

Ed Donatell is another perfect example. After a brilliant game plan against the Green Bay Packers in Week 1, Donatell pretty much elected to stay in his base formation defense for most of the season, rarely calling a blitz or showing any creative looks or packages.

The Vikings’ defense eventually became one of the worst in the league, and it was the biggest reason why the team lost in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.

If O’Connell was more aggressive and replaced Donatell with someone else during the season instead of after, that could’ve lit a fire that turned this unit around. We will never know because a change was never made until after the season.

Maybe in year two, O’Connell will start punishing players and coaches who aren’t meeting expectations, letting them know that if they can’t do it, then the next man up will be given a chance.

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