“Finally”: Minnesota Vikings Fans Rejoice After 2x Super Bowl Champion Coach Gets Fired in a Massive Coaching Move

Published 01/20/2023, 11:00 AM EST
Jan 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell walks on the field after losing a wild card game against the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings crashed out of this year’s postseason action after their super wild-card round defeat against the New York Giants. After walking into the playoffs with a 13-4 record, the defensive collapse against the Giants called for some action before resuming things for next season. And Kevin O’Connell has obliged.

Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell announced the firing of defensive coordinator and 42-year coaching veteran Ed Donatell on Thursday. And fans didn’t flinch when they saw the news, considering many were wishing for it to happen earlier. The Vikings were positive at the offense this year, but their defense let them down.

Minnesota Vikings’ defense under Donatell was in shambles

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Kirk Cousins, Justin Jefferson and the Vikings offense showed up this season. In his first year as head coach, O’Connell and his boys won 13 games in the regular season for only the second time in franchise history. The Vikings also won the crown of the NFC North division for the first time since 2017. However, their defense was one of the worst in the league, despite ranking high in takeaways.

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Their 25.1 points allowed per game puts them 28th in the league. And the 388.7 yards allowed is the second-worst in the 2022 NFL season. With a blitz rate ranking 12th lowest in the league, the Vikings never had their path clear to the Super Bowl. Fans were relieved to see Ed go.

O’Connell released the statement from the official Twitter handle of the Minnesota Vikings. “Today I informed Ed Donatell we will be going in a different direction as defensive coordinator in 2023. While this was a difficult decision because of the tremendous respect I have for Ed as a person and a coach, I believe it is the right move for the future of our football team,” the report said.

Kevin O’Connell is already looking for his next DC

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When O’Connell hired Ed Donatell in 2022, there was a strong resume to support that decision. Ed won the Super Bowl with Denver twice, as their secondary coach. Donatell has been the DC for the Broncos, Bears, and the San Francisco 49ers for the past 11 years. However, his 3-4 formation devised under the guidance of Vic Fangio didn’t bear fruit this season.

Jan 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings fans react during the fourth quarter during a wild-card game against the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants recorded 431 yards in their 31-24 win to advance to the divisional round meet-up with the Philadelphia Eagles this week. Daniel Jones engineered 5 scoring drives with at least 75 yards each. Ed’s dependency on pass-rushers and linebackers, Za’Darius Smith and Danielle Hunter, left their soft zone coverage vulnerable. However, the 23.9% pressure rate puts them 23rd this year. And after a stellar start to the season for Kevin and Co, Vikings fans didn’t see the end coming so soon.

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We will immediately begin our search to fill this critical role as we continue to build a championship standard for the Minnesota Vikings,” O’Connell added. Ravens’ D-line coach Anthony Weaver and Aubrey Pleasant from Green Bay can replace Ed after being in contention last year as well.

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Soumyapriyo Ganguly

472 articles

Soumyapriyo Ganguly is an NFL writer at Essentially Sports. He holds a degree in Economics and Statistics from the Indian School of Business and Finance. Rivu is a sports nerd with his favorites being Soccer, American Football, Basketball, UFC, and Formula 1.

Edited By: Hitesh Nigam

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