Vikings’ Kevin O’Connell hopes to emulate team-building prowess of Sean McVay in Minnesota

Icon Sportswire / Contributor

Kevin O’Connell has learned a lot from Sean McVay, to say the least, and that’s exactly what the Minnesota Vikings were banking on when they pegged him their head coach successor to Mike Zimmer. O’Connell and McVay are both riding high after defeating the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium, a team led by Zac Taylor, another talented coach from McVay’s tree who just landed himself a multi-year contract extension for how he was able to turn the entire organization around. It’s now O’Connell’s turn to prove he can do the same, and he’s not without a plan.

The primary portion of it being to build the Vikings in much the same way McVay has done the Rams, and seeing how the approach paid off with two Super Bowl trips in a span of only four years for Los Angeles — winning the most recent one — that’s music to everyone’s ears in Minneapolis.

“I feel like I’ve been around one of the best play callers in the NFL over the last couple years [in McVay], and obviously the system we run here will have a lot of characteristics of what we did in Los Angeles: the ability to have that attacking mindset, the ability to utilize our offense at the line of scrimmage,” O’Connell said, via the team’s official website. “With that, you have to have ownership of what you’re doing to call it, you have to have ownership of what you’re doing at the quarterback position to run the offense, and I feel very strongly about the circumstances and situation here to be really prepared to do that.”

O’Connell is on record as backing Kirk Cousins as his franchise quarterback, and the offensive weapons are certainly there for Cousins to prosper under the former Rams offensive coordinator — e.g., Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen. Time will tell if O’Connell can convince the Vikings front office to be as all-in on free agency and trades ahead of the deadline as the Rams were/are, but it sounds like he’ll definitely prod them in that direction.

“He’s had a huge impact on me the last two years, but even going back beyond that, I’ve learned so much from him about the type of team and culture that I want to build,” O’Connell added. “But he is truly a remarkable man, a remarkable leader. I hope to bring a lot of those characteristics to our football team here — that he’s instilled that just helped us win a world championship.”

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