Mike Zimmer did have a commendable tenure from 2014 to 2021 but couldn’t maximize the talent he had on offense.
In contrast, O’Connell helped guide the Los Angeles Rams to victory in Super Bowl LVI as offensive coordinator.
His addition should spark more creativity on that side of the ball, especially when they have two of the best skill position players in the league.
Last season, running back Dalvin Cook finished with 1,159 yards and six touchdowns.
His 2021 total gives him three consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons.
Then there’s Justin Jefferson who has been excellent in his first two years.
He broke the league’s all-time record for most receiving yards by a rookie with 1,400, which was eventually surpassed by the Cincinnati Bengals’ Ja’Marr Chase.
That number also broke Randy Moss‘ franchise receiving record for a rookie.
The former LSU standout had a better 2021 campaign with 1,616 yards and ten touchdowns.
He racked up those huge gains because he was a dependable receiver, especially during big plays.
Just throw it up to Justin Jefferson ✈️ pic.twitter.com/YBWKUIBgyL
— PFF (@PFF) June 26, 2022
Pro Football Focus revealed that Jefferson had a league-leading 96.9 receiving grade on throws of more than 20 yards.
His sure hands also helped quarterback Kirk Cousins with 4,221 yards, 33 touchdowns, and only seven interceptions.
What’s Next For Jefferson?
Despite the huge numbers, Jefferson has not experienced playing in the postseason.
The team fell short with 7-9 and 8-9 records in his first two seasons.
Therefore, playing beyond the regular season is a goal that the Vikings can attain.
In some ways, Jefferson will be O’Connell’s new Cooper Kupp.
In that case, he might see an increase in his numbers, leading him to earn a First-Team All-Pro inclusion.
If he makes the playoffs, everyone will see if he will perform well when the stakes are higher.