Questions Answered: Coach of the Year, Duke Shelley as a Starter, Playoff Underdogs

Vikings Opponents
Dec 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell looks on before the game against the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

The following questions are about current Minnesota Vikings topics, answered by PurplePTSD. Today is the December 27th edition, addressed in a from-the-hip fashion. If you have questions, please email them to [email protected].

Also, please note: These are opinion-based responses. Some answers will be incorrect from time to time. But we’ll try to keep that to a minimum.

Questions Answered: Coach of the Year, Duke Shelley as a Starter, Playoff Underdogs

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Q: Do you believe Kevin O’Connell will win the NFL Coach of the Year?

Shelley as a Starter
Dec 4, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell and linebacker William Kwenkeu. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

A: No.

O’Connell is actually a longshot to win the award despite the NFL’s second-best record and status as a first-year head coach.

NFL Coach of the Year Odds,
thru Week 16:

Nick Sirianni = -175
Kyle Shanahan = +300
Doug Pederson = +900
Brian Daboll = +1600
Dan Campbell = +2000
Kevin O’Connell = +4000
Mike McCarthy = +10000
Zac Taylor = +10000

Nick Sirianni will win the chip here, but O’Connell deserves to be “second,” if that’s a thing. The sixth-best odds for O’Connell are silly.

It’s also mind-boggling that Dan Campbell from the Lions has better odds of winning over O’Connell. The Lions sabotaged themselves to start the season, firing up a 1-6 record before getting their feces together. There’s evidently honor in beginning a season with a losing mindset, getting to .500, and then sniffing the playoffs. We don’t understand it.

Q: Will the Vikings go back to Cameron Dantzler as a starter when he’s healthy, or stick with Duke Shelley?

Nov 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver DeVante Parker (1) makes a catch while Minnesota Vikings cornerback Duke Shelley. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

A: They’ll likely return to Dantzler when he’s 100% healthy.

But, boy, oh boy, has Shelley made the case to remain in his starting spot. Shelley’s the league’s 14th-best cornerback per Pro Football Focus, and it feels weird to bench a man with that resume.

Shelley will probably remain active on the Vikings defense, but Dantzler doesn’t seem like a man who will be benched. There’s also a decent chance that Shelley is overachieving a bit.

We expect Dantzler to take his job back but won’t be upset if Shelley remains a starter.

Q: Any chance the Vikings open as underdogs in Round 1 of the postseason?

The Vikings Are Playing with Fire
Nov 13, 2022; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports.

A: The Vikings host a home playoff game no matter what. If the Packers beat the Vikings this weekend and end up reaching the postseason, they would likely be favored over the Vikings in Round 1.

Minnesota will be favored by Vegas if it matches up with the Giants, Commanders, Seahawks, or Lions. But because they’re “the Packers,” Green Bay would be one- or two-point favorites.

Bring them on. The Vikings should take care of business at their building versus any of those teams. The playoffs are for big-boy pants, so Minnesota shouldn’t fear the Packers, Giants, Commanders, Seahawks, or Lions.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).