Former SDSU Quarterback Kevin O’Connell hired as Minnesota Vikings new head coach

SDSU alum Kevin OConnell at a press conference for the Minnesota Vikings.

Photo courtesy of AP

Minnesota Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell speaks to reporters during a news conference Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022, in Eagan, Minn. (Aaron Lavinsky/Star Tribune via AP)

by Sumaia Wegner, Staff Writer

If you were to search “offensive philosopher” in the dictionary, you would find Kevin O’Connell’s name under the definition, at least according to Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi-Adofo Mensah.  

On Wednesday, Feb. 16 O’Connell was introduced as the Vikings’ tenth head coach in franchise history. Just a mere week ago O’Connell was celebrating with the Los Angeles Rams as they won Super Bowl LVI. Now, as the championship air lingers around him, he is getting ready to take the Vikings by the horns too.

“To Vikings fans, I just want to let you know, you’ll get everything I absolutely have on an every-single-day basis,” O’Connell said during his first press conference as head coach. “Knowing how hard it is to win in this league and having come from an organization where we were just able to accomplish the ultimate goal in winning a Super Bowl, I know what it takes. I’ve seen it. I’ve experienced it, and I know how hard it can be, but I know if you’ve got the right kind of people with you, the right ownership, the right leadership structure with you, and I know we have the right kind of players in this building already, we can accomplish a lot, a lot of really special things.”

What makes O’Connell a worthy candidate for this position is his impressive resume.

Before his recent position as the Rams offensive coordinator, O’Connell spent five years playing in the NFL.  He was drafted by the New England Patriots in the third round of the 2008 draft. He also played for the Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, and the San Diego Chargers. 

Once he retired in 2015, his knack for coaching began to rise as he served as an assistant coach for the Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers, and Washington Redskins.

What makes O’Connell an icon is that he is a former Aztec at San Diego State.

He served as the team captain and played as quarterback for four years. He started 21 games and made history by ranking first in career rushing yards and second in career rushing touchdowns. He rushed for 1,312 yards, had 7,689 passing yards, 46 touchdown passes and 19 rushing touchdowns. With such stats, O’Connell goes down as one of the best running quarterbacks in SDSU history.

He graduated in 2007 with a degree in political science. In 2012, O’Connell worked with KOGO Radio 600 as the sideline reporter for the SDSU broadcast team. He also worked with XX Sports Radio 1090, XTRA Sports 1360, and made appearances with NBC.

“You know, one of Kevin’s best attributes is his ability to communicate complexity. In a simple, relatable way. Like some of the best football minds I’ve been around,” Mensah said. 

“The way he talks about football is very visual, simple, and clear. He is well regarded across the league for his genuine personality almost as much as his football acumen. He is committed to building a championship culture to positivity and purpose.”

Kevin O’Connell is as bright as his future. With “head coach” added to his list of accomplishments, he is a shining representative of the Scarlet and Black of San Diego State.