Kevin O’Connell Kept his Word, and That Matters
The NFL is a cutthroat business. Kevin O’Connell, a third-round selection in 2008, understands that reality better than most.
Teams regularly fail to see contracts through to the end, instead moving on from players in favor of added cap room and the unknown found among free agents. Coach shuffling is a yearly feature of the offseason and executives generally have pretty low job security.
The recent willingness from Kevin O’Connell to keep his word is thus notable.
Kevin O’Connell and His Promise
Consider some of the manicured videos that the team’s social media has been putting out since Jordan Addison was added.
In these clips, O’Connell repeatedly emphasizes that he promised the team would snag the WR and they then followed through. The moment in the head coach’s office provided O’Connell with the chance to locate a specific time and location when he made the proclamation:
On draft night, O’Connell kept things a bit more general but he did shoehorn his fulfilled promise into his brief telephone conversation with Addison:
Clearly, it was important for the HC to remind his young WR that Minnesota comes through on its word.
Why does it matter?
Well, it goes back to what Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell are trying to accomplish. For the most part, the players seem enthused about the leadership group (though Kris Boyd has made some of his displeasure known on social media). The recently-released NFLPA survey suggests that Minnesota is among the very best places to play in the NFL. Heck, even David Bakhtiari praised the Vikings for their aptitude.
It’s as if O’Connell is trying to say to his rookie, “Trust me. When I tell you something, I mean it. I’ve got a vision for you and I’m going to ensure it comes to fruition. After all, I claimed I’d get you into a purple uniform and I came through.”
Inspiring confidence and buy-in among the players is important, folks.
Minnesota is entering a season when many expect them to shrink back from their 13 wins. Being able to overcome the outside doubt will involve the team continuing to rally around their still-new head coach.
Getting Addison acclimated, motivated, and productive early on will go a long way in ensuring 2023 builds off of rather than regresses from the recent success.