It was a quick playoff exit for the NFC North champions. The Minnesota Vikings won 13 games in 2022 but at times didn’t look the part of a dominant team.
It’s a franchise that won its first division title since 2017, which is also the last time the team won 13 games. In his debut as an NFL head coach, Kevin O’Connell guided the Minnesota Vikings to the top of the NFC North with a 13-4 record. However, those four losses raised a lot of concerns as all were by double digits and by a combined score of 139-50.
Still, it was the club’s first winning season since 2019 and it is something to build on. The team got big years offensively from quarterback Kirk Cousins, running back Dalvin Cook, and All-Pro wide receiver Justin Jefferson. It was a much different story on the defensive side of the ball, and there has already been a major change it comes to the coaching staff.
What’s Next for the Minnesota Vikings?
It was hardly a shock that a team that allowed the second-most total yards and passing yards per game in the league in 2022 is moving on from its defensive coordinator.
“Today I informed Ed Donatell we will be going in a different direction at defensive coordinator in 2023,” explained O’Connell via a statement (courtesy of Pro Football Talk’s Michael David Smith). “While this was a difficult decision because of the tremendous respect I have for Ed as a person and coach, I believe it is the right move for the future of our football team.
“I want to thank Ed for his commitment to the Vikings this past season, for the positive impact he had on our players and coaches, and for his role in helping me as a first-year head coach lay this foundation.”
Biggest Offseason Concern?
Again, it’s the defense. How bad was it for the Vikings on this side of the ball? Only two teams in the NFL gave up more points per game. Minnesota surrendered 388.7 total yards per contest and 41 offensive touchdowns in 17 regular-season contests. In the 31-24 Wild Card loss to the Giants, Donatell’s unit allowed 431 total yards.
Where does the organization go from here in terms of a defensive coordinator? The Vikings have slowly but surely deteriorated on defense for any number of years. Offensively, this is one of the most talented squads in the league. Still, Kevin O’Connell’s club allowed more points (427) than it scored (424) in 2022 and that is certainly cause for concern.