A Re-Invigorated Vikings Offense is Developing

Oct 31, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (19) reacts with wide receiver K.J. Osborn (17) after scoring on a 20 yard touchdown pass from quarterback Kirk Cousins (not pictured) as Dallas Cowboys cornerback Anthony Brown (30) looks on during the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

A re-invigorated Vikings offense is developing. For the past few seasons, Vikings fans – and opposing defenses – sometimes encountered a predictable offense. This wasn’t the fault of the players on the team but was due to the system in place. However, a new head coach and new offensive coordinator has brought new ideas. The Minnesota offense is a fully stocked arsenal and it leaves little room for excuses.

Out With the Old, In With The New

The Viking offense was not always a priority under previous head coach Mike Zimmer. Zimmer was a defense guy, someone who had a reputation for focusing too much attention on his side. His teams went through numerous offensive coordinators (Norv Turner, Pat Shurmur, John DeFilippo, Kevin Stefanski, Gary Kubiak, and Klint Kubiak).

The hiring of a new HC, Kevin O’Connell, breathes new life into the offensive system. O’Connell is considered an offensive guru and was last the offensive coordinator for the LA Rams. It’s no secret that the Rams were an offensive powerhouse and that was due in large part to O’Connell.

O’Connell brings with him a new offensive coordinator in Wes Phillips. Phillips and O’Connell worked together in Washington and in Los Angeles. Phillips is known in the NFL as a “tight end whisperer.” He is responsible for helping numerous tight ends, such as Jordan Reed and Tyler Higbee. Phillips is expected to help the team better integrate Irv Smith’s game. For the first time in his career, Phillips will have the reins of the whole offense and will be entrusted to develop the kind of high-powered system for which O’Connell is known.

At times, when a team drastically changes its style the current players do not always adapt well. This time, however, it seems like the changes that are being made are beneficial for the team and the individual players. Vikings receiver, Justin Jefferson, has referred to the previous system as “an old-style offense.” A new approach may push the young receiver even higher.

The new offense should also be a boost for quarterback Kirk Cousins. Cousins and O’Connell have a history together as O’Connell was the quarterback coach for Washington when the QB played there. Despite the familiarity, Cousins expressed how football is ever-changing and he has a lot to learn. He says he has been studying with flashcards to help him memorize the terms, plays, and formations

Who is Poised to Thrive?

O’Connell has no shortage of weapons at his disposal. This should mean players like Cousins have more opportunities to make plays. He will get the ball to receivers Jefferson, Thielen, and tight end Irv Smith. While O’Connell is known for his passing game, there is benefit to the running backs. The offense will benefit from a deep group of RBs that includes Dalvin Cook, Alexander Mattison, Kene Nwangwu, and Ty Chandler. Having this talent helps to further spread out and confuse the defense.

The best offenses are able to adjust and adapt both during a game and from game to game as they face different defenses. The Minnesota Vikings are now poised to be able to do just that. 

Hang on, folks, this should be a thrilling ride!