3 first-year head coaches already showing more than Commanders’ Ron Rivera
By Jerry Trotta
2. Kevin O’Connell (Vikings)
The Vikings are 4-1 through five weeks, with their only loss coming against the undefeated Eagles. O’Connell kicked off his coaching tenure by beating the Packers handily at home. Could you have scripted a better start? Since then, he’s knocked off the Saints on the road in New Orleans, which is never easy, and the upstart Lions.
O’Connell is the NFL’s second-youngest coach behind Sean McVay, but you wouldn’t know it based on the Vikings’ week-to-week performance.
After sitting through years of mediocrity under Mike Zimmer’s tutelage and wasting a high-octane offense led by Kirk Cousins, Dalvin Cook and Justin Jefferson, fans in the North Star State are suddenly full of confidence instead of dreading Sundays knowing a heartbreaking loss was on the way.
As McVay’s former offensive coordinator in Los Angeles, O’Connell has instilled intelligent offensive blueprints to get the ball into the hands of his best players, including Jefferson, who leads the NFL with 547 receiving yards.
O’Connell inherited a talented roster, but talent means nothing if players aren’t well-coached. Don’t have to tell that to Vikings fans, though.