The daddy is aware of greatest why the Vikings are in good arms with first-year head coach Kevin O’Connell.
“He’s at all times been a pure chief, even from the time he was a younger man in junior excessive and highschool,” Invoice O’Connell informed Serby Says of his son. “He was a captain at his highschool and he was a four-year captain at San Diego State. And he’s perfected it, too. He’s been a pupil of management, and a pupil of the mentors he’s performed for and coached with and coached for.
“He’s very, very in tune within the trendy era and his era as to goal-setting and he’s extra people-oriented. He believes you are able to do issues being optimistic and supporting and reinforcing his gamers, reinforcing the workers and I feel he’s a powerful advocate that negativism just isn’t gonna get you wherever, you gotta come on daily basis to the job with a optimistic perspective and once more, not frightened about errors, simply working to keep away from them, not repeat them and enhance your self and enhance your crew and the person play of his gamers. He stresses that to his gamers on daily basis.”
Invoice O’Connell can be there Sunday at U.S. Financial institution Stadium along with his spouse, Suzanne, and her 88-year-old father, watching his son’s 8-1 Vikings attempt to beat the Cowboys and shut in on clinching the NFC North title.
“You need the most effective consequence for him,” Invoice O’Connell stated. “You need him to make good selections. You need his crew to reply. For me personally, there’s loads of strain.
“I haven’t drank an alcoholic beverage since he’s performed or coached through the sport, and I proceed to try this. I can’t have a beer till after the sport,” he stated with fun.
Viking coach Kevin O’Connell talks to Kirk Cousin.Motion Pictures through Reuters
Skol, Kevin O’Connell.
“First interplay with this man, you’d perceive that he’s a pacesetter, or when you’re stranded on an island someplace, this man may be the one to coordinate the right way to get out of there,” Vikings defensive sort out Harrison Phillips informed Serby Says. “Simply his presence alone kinda calls for respect, after which he good points respect by giving respect, and I feel that’s a extremely cool trait he has.”
“I might say it’s a collaborative management,” Vikings vast receiver Adam Thielen informed Serby Says. “It’s a management that takes in account the opposite leaders of the group to come back with educated solutions so far as the right way to do issues, the right way to construction apply, the right way to perhaps alter issues once they must be adjusted. So you’ll be able to actually really feel that regardless that that we’re not concerned in loads of these conversations. … It’s not simply him making selections off of feelings or various things like that.”
The city continues to be buzzing about their Miracle Vikings following the unbelievable comeback win final Sunday at Buffalo: a 33-30 additional time thriller that includes Justin Jefferson’s ridiculous one-handed catch on a fourth all the way down to hold a fourth-quarter landing drive alive earlier than Minnesota recovered a fumble ultimately zone within the ultimate minute of regulation.
“He kinda motivates you by simply letting you be your self and discovering he greatest option to make the most effective model of your self,” Philips stated. “He’s not an enormous whoop-and-hollering, big-talking man, in order that when he does discuss, when he does whoop and holler, you realize that it’s massive.”
“Typically it’s by means of visually, like exhibiting us on movie like, ‘Hey, that is the way it’s carried out, exhibiting examples of gamers making performs, doing issues above and past to assist his crew win,’ ” Thielen stated. “It’s a extremely good motivation approach as a result of guys see that they usually wish to be on that movie in entrance of the entire crew.”
Kevin O’Connell, 37 now, was an Eagles fan who idolized Randall Cunningham, sitting on the Vet along with his father, earlier than changing into a 6-foot-5 quarterback who was drafted by the Patriots within the third spherical out of San Diego State in 2008.
Kevin O’Connell hugs receiver Justin Jefferson. Getty Pictures
“Fortunately he bought drafted by the New England Patriots,” Invoice O’Connell stated. “Though unluckily, he bought drafted by the New England Patriots.”
Fortunately, he bought to be a sponge alongside Tom Brady. He was 4-for-6 for 23 yards as a rookie and by no means threw one other NFL regular-season go at a number of different stops.
“At that time he seen Brady as a particular icon and as a pacesetter and as someone who Day 1 when he walked on the ability at Foxborough, he was utterly in awe of Tom,” the daddy stated. “However Tom was fabulous. Tom took him below his wing, they usually had a terrific relationship whereas he was there and he tried to change and educate Kevin fairly a bit, as did [Bill] Belichick and the opposite coaches, Josh MvDaniels. They nonetheless have an excellent relationship to this very day as mates.”
Fortunately, Kevin O’Connell bought to look at Belichick as up shut and as private as anybody presumably can.
“I feel he realized the right way to come to work on daily basis and to be anticipated to offer 150 % and simply be the most effective you would be, reduce down on the errors, at all times enhance your execution, at all times enhance your private abilities, and simply self-discipline … self-discipline on the sphere, self-discipline in your life,” Invoice O’Connell stated. “And I feel the final orderliness of how Coach Belichick runs a soccer crew and runs a season and runs a sport, frankly.”
Invoice O’Connell mentions the influence Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine, now Vikings assistant head coach, made on his son when he was with the Jets for 2 stints in 2009-10 and again in 2011 after a fast cease with the Dolphins.
“It was humorous, this factor about him teaching went all the way in which again to the times of Mark Sanchez when Kevin was kinda the quarterback whisperer if you’ll, or the daddy confessor to Mark Sanchez,” Invoice O’Connell stated.
It’s by no means simple surrendering your NFL quarterback dream.
“I feel it’s robust for any younger man like Kevin,” Invoice O’Connell stated. “There’s 32 beginning jobs each season, and there’s many, many proficient human beings who play quarterback within the Nationwide Soccer League. … I feel he was a precursor to a few of the guys that play in the present day. Nonetheless these guys that play in the present day are extremely, extremely correct.”
However the love of the sport wouldn’t let his boy go away it after retiring in 2012.
“He simply turned increasingly more intellectually concerned within the sport, and ultimately that transition was simple for him as a result of he be a part of realized when his enjoying days had been over, he had an incredible curiosity and a love for staying within the sport intellectually and simply cherished the sport, and that’s why he’s migrated to the teaching ranks,” Invoice O’Connell stated.
His son realized his craft at a number of totally different teaching venues earlier than becoming a member of Rams head coach Sean McVay as offensive coordinator in 2020 and successful Tremendous Bowl LVI this previous February at SoFi Stadium.
“I feel Sean and Kevin fashioned a really deep bond and lifelong friendship,” Invoice O’Connell stated.
Invoice O’Connell, who lives in Carlsbad, Calif., developed a friendship with McVay and his workers and gamers.
“We lived and died and we cried and we cheered,” he stated. “It was unbelievable. It was a fantasy yr.”
Some 20 prolonged members of the family, together with 5 of Invoice O’Conell’s six grandchildren, bought to look at Kevin O’Connell maintain the Lombardi Trophy.
“Absolutely the tearjerker for the household was my daughter [Kelly] and grandkids, Kevin’s kids, had been allowed down on the sphere after the sport they usually ran out, and simply to look at the entire household soar collectively and run, and run to him. It was a second that my spouse and I’ll by no means ever overlook,” Invoice O’Connell stated.
Now Kevin O’Connell and rookie basic supervisor Kwesi Adofo-Mensah have a crew to consider in.
“Everybody’s purchased in. … Nobody is bitching and complaining and speaking about not enjoying or not beginning or not getting the enjoying time they need,” Phillips stated. “I haven’t heard any of that in our locker room, which I feel is a rarity on this enterprise.”
“It’s an actual relationship from coaches and gamers,” Thielen stated. “I’ve by no means actually seen that earlier than in my profession.”
There’s a simple relatability between the previous quarterback, now head coach, and Kirk Cousins, who has 5 game-winning drives because the Vikings have gained seven straight video games by eight factors or fewer.
“I feel he actually understands that everyone can’t be coached the identical, and he is aware of that to get the most effective out of all people individually you must do issues otherwise per particular person,” Thielen stated.
The postgame flights again house, on which first Cousins (aka Kirko Chainz) after which Patrick Peterson, posed shirtless with chains have been a viral sensation.
“The previous few aircraft journeys on the way in which again, I don’t assume I sat down as soon as,” Thielen stated.
Kevin O’Connell has been a breath of recent air following Mike Zimmer.
“As a father,” Invoice O’Connell stated, “your son has certainly one of 32 jobs on this planet.”
Invoice O’Connell was a 220-pound robust security and weak-side linebacker at Villanova with an NFL dream, however a neck damage shattered it on the finish of his junior yr.
“It was a really profound and unhappy second for me,” the daddy stated. “However to have a son, after which have him take up the sport of soccer, and have him have interaction within the enjoying after which the teaching aspect of it, it’s the most effective of each worlds for me, I’ll inform ya.”