New Vikings HC O’Connell will call plays, excited to build offense around Kirk Cousins

New Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell came prepared to his Thursday afternoon introductory press conference. He emphasized collaboration and respect with general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and creating a franchise culture where players believe their coaches care about them.

O’Connell just coached the Rams offense to a Super Bowl title and his been coaching quarterbacks in the NFL since 2015. Before that year he was an NFL quarterback after a college career at San Diego State.

Across the league O’Connell is labeled as an innovative and incredibly bright guy, and he says the roster the Vikings currently have is talented enough to win now.

As for QB Kirk Cousins, who has a year remaining on his deal, O’Connell says he’s excited to call plays for him.

”Kirk’s played at a very high level, and he’s done a lot of really good things throughout his career,” O’Connell said. “I know who he is as a player, I know what he’s capable of.”

Though Rams head coach Sean McVay called offensive plays while O’Connell was with the Rams, O’Connell feels confident he is ready to handle the task.

“My career as a player provided a great platform for me as a coach because I did spend a lot of time watching games from the sideline,” he joked. “But I will say that with that comes the ability to see the game in a way that I feel very prepared to call the game. I feel like I’ve been around one of the best play-callers in the NFL over the last couple years, and obviously the system we run here will have a lot of characteristics of what we did in Los Angeles.”

Defensively O’Connell says Harrison Smith is the perfect player for the defensive structure he wants to play, and he also talked at length about linebacker Anthony Barr’s ability.

Both O’Connell and Adofo-Mensah agreed that the free agency and draft process will be done “side by side.”

Most of O’Connell’s coaching staff is now official as well, including Mike Pettine is assistant head coach and Ed Donatell as defensive coordinator,