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5 takeaways from Kevin O’Connell’s NFL all-around media hit

Lindsey Young & Sam Thiel

Minutes after Kevin O’Connell wrapped up his debut press conference as Vikings head coach, he asked Justin Jefferson on FaceTime to get to know his star wide receiver a little better.

Exactly one year has passed since that call. O’Connell, who is currently in Indianapolis to host his second NFL Scouting Combine in Minnesota, spoke to reporters during a media session and shared his KFAN news with Paul Allen and Vikings Entertainment Network’s Gabe Henderson. participated in his 9 to Noon.

During the podium session, O’Connell reflected on how his relationship with Jefferson had grown over the past 12 months.

“We’ve come a long way since then,” O’Connell said. “[He’s] One of my favorite players I’ve ever coached. I told him so. Incredible talent, what he means to our league, the way he behaves, the way he works every day. But what really impressed Justin this year was his leadership. It’s the next step in understanding, ‘He believes he’s the best receiver in football. And I happen to agree with him and a lot of things apply to that. ”

O’Connell added that Jefferson has more responsibility, not just on the field, but in the form of being a role model.

“He takes very seriously how much people and young children look up to him, and I just watch how he behaves himself every day, week after week.” And to say I’m excited to coach Justin for a really long time would be an understatement,” O’Connell continued. “I know it sounds crazy, but we lead the league in yards and receptions, but I really think he and I just scratched the surface of where we want to go on offense. Given that our premier is his receiver.”

Much of Jefferson’s success in the 2022 season came from the countless hours he and O’Connell spent together crafting ways to move receivers within the Vikings’ offense.

When asked to generally assess the role of tight ends and running backs as targets for receiving, O’Connell said the area of ​​the game is becoming more common.

“I think it’s a skill set. It’s that receiver that’s got the ball in his hands and he’s got the punt returns in the background. Well, ‘Hey, through the screen, by giving a handoff, you can do it in different ways.’ Can you find out? Using our personnel to continuously pressure people to attack?” O’Connell said. “I think you’re looking at that and the effect that running backs have on the passing game, the effect that receivers have by having some contact with the ball behind the line of scrimmage and turning it into explosives.”

O’Connell then expanded his answer to include the quarterback.

“Playing the quarterback position is really hard, so at any given moment you can hand the football over, flip the football over to someone else, or throw the football into the surrounding screen-outs and take a breather where it turns into explosive yardage. We can do that, and it makes everyone’s job a lot easier,” added O’Connell. “I’m not going to speak on behalf of anyone else or any other coach, but we’re always looking for diverse skill sets that allow us to be creative with how we attack people throughout a full season.

Below are four more takeaways from O’Connell’s Combine Media session.

1. Secondary subjects are becoming primary subjects | Sam Thiel

Like every other team in the NFL, the Vikings have some important decisions to make regarding their roster before free agency and a new league year begin in a few weeks.

When asked to assess the current state of the Vikings’ secondary, O’Connell expressed excitement over the group’s direction.

“Those young players, together with the veterans, were a unique room in many ways,” O’Connell said. “thought [defensive backs coach] Dalonte [Jones] Did a great job with that group, dealt with some injuries, brought in guys like Duke Shelley, had a great veteran presence that we did with Patrick Peterson and Harrison Smith, Went safely with the rest of our core group. like. We want to create a competitive environment in that room and ultimately add pieces that fit how we want to play and ultimately let those guys compete and the best 11 is I would like to be able to go out on the field.

O’Connell also said he’s impressed with the rehabilitation progress 2022 first-round pick Louis Sine has achieved so far. During Minnesota’s Week 4 victory, he suffered a complicated broken leg while working for the punt return team.

“Lewis is in great shape right now. [He’s] A lot of people came to my office and asked, “Hey, when are you going to start?” Have you set your OTA schedule? What about training camps? ‘ I said, ‘Wait a minute, man, we’ll be fine,’ said O’Connell. We hope that Lewis deals with the adversity of his injury, stays connected to his teammates, and, ultimately, is a small bump in Lewis’ incredible journey to becoming a player like him. . ”

2. Flawless System Fitting | Lindsey Young

With the recent hiring of Brian Flores, O’Connell was asked about how close the Vikings are now to fitting into the new defensive coordinator system.

O’Connell appreciates Flores for his coaching ability and ability. his careerHe said both skill sets help Flores determine what Minnesota currently has and what may be missing in the puzzle.

“First and foremost is evaluating our roster of young and veteran players and seeing how they actually look with the free agency process and the draft to see how the pieces fit together. I think it’s about giving him time to see what’s going on, and evolve it with what we want to do,” O’Connell said. “But one of the things that’s been great about interviewing Flo about his process is that he’s interviewing in so many different ways that he can actually be multiple people.”

O’Connell said both his and Flores’ coaching philosophies are “aggressive in nature.”

“At the end of the day, we’re very versatile, but we have to play the game,” he said. “[You have to know] What it takes to win a football game. Sometimes you have to reinvent yourself week after week. Sometimes you have to shape and adapt how you play while remaining true to your football philosophy.

“And it’s not always easy,” O’Connell added.

3. “It’s on my waist” | Lindsey Young

O’Connell and Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah are both having their rookie seasons in Minnesota.

When the two leaders last spoke at the combine, each was in a brand new position. O’Connell and Adofo-Mensah stressed the importance of cooperation at the time and have continued to work together throughout his 13-4 season for Minnesota and beyond.

“I haven’t seen many head coaches or GMs walking around Indianapolis,” O’Connell laughed in an interview with KFAN. You’ll see it up close.”

But it’s not all about X and O. It’s also about building connections and friendships off the field.

“We don’t like playing football together. We don’t like working together on the details that are so important for the team,” O’Connell said. It’s a story about my wife, Leah, getting really close and I feel like we’re finally invested in each other as friends and as people who rely on each other.He’s been there for me many times. He was there.”

“As a head coach, as a playcaller, your first year trying to do things the way we do can be taxing at times. “I tend to go against this period. That’s my job for him right now. He puts everything he has with his staff into evaluation mode.” I challenge our coaches to be an extension of them.In terms of football, our human resources department, our coaching staff, our draft room, our organization, in an indecisive way. It’s a way to be an information filler that allows us to mesh and finally see what direction we’re headed in. Maximize opportunities.”

4. The Value of Indoor Pass Rush | Lindsey Young

If anyone knows the importance of a solid interior pass rush, it’s O’Connell.

During his time as the Rams’ offensive coordinator, O’Connell won a Super Bowl ring after veteran defensive tackle Aaron Donald held things down in the trenches.

We can’t guarantee exactly what Minnesota’s internal defensive line will look like in 2023, especially considering Darvin Tomlinson is slated to become a free agent. We are discussing to see if O’Connell was asked by Allen if “finding a proper inside pass he rush or three technique” in the NFL is as difficult as finding a quarterback for the franchise.

First and foremost, O’Connell said quarterbacks are “always unique” because of the power they ultimately hold.

“The defensive line position for me is about how people are being used at the college level, these very athletic edge players, with the growth of these edge rushers, in today’s football, we are It’s something we’re always trying to find,” said O’Connell.

The ultimate goal, he added, is to secure a defensive tackle that can stop a run on first or second down as well as rush the quarterback on third down.

“You know what they end up with? Top 10 picks,” joked O’Connell, reminding him of course that Minnesota wasn’t planning on drafting all the way to No. 23. I think one of the things we need to do is have the resources to get one of the What is that skill set you have?”

“Then something that tries to come into the league around that player, with 10 other players on the field, maximizing what they’re doing well and perhaps reinforcing what they’re not doing well. “And set them on a trajectory to eventually become the best players where their strengths grow even stronger and those weaknesses grow into parts of the game that people can no longer attack.” “

http://www.unitedkingdomnews.net/news/273587859/5-takeaways-from-kevin-oconnell-nfl-combine-media-hits 5 takeaways from Kevin O’Connell’s NFL all-around media hit

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