Breaking News: Just In Minnesota Vikings Head Coach Kevin O’Connell Targeting World Class Player To Be His Next Signing At Minnesota Vikings As Interest Confirmed….

Does Kevin O’Connell Think Sam Darnold Is a Little Bit Like Kirk Cousins?
Perhaps the most romantic NFL couple is Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift. It was still nothing compared to the relationship Kirk Cousins has had with his coaches throughout his career.

There was a moment when Kevin O’Connell showing up at Cousins’ house with posterboard signs akin to the iconic scene from Love, Actually wouldn’t have been shocking. Even after Kirk Cousins accepted the largest contract he could find with the Atlanta Falcons, there were rumors of Kyle Shanahan’s amorous gaze. This continued even after he discovered Brock Purdy to be his franchise quarterback.

Although few NFL players have ever been dumped by their quarterback, the situation has certain familiar feelings. The hunt for a better, more recent version of the relationship you just ended starts as soon as you split up. The Vikings think that by signing Sam Darnold, they have the solution.

According to some Vikings supporters, signing Darnold is akin to O’Connell declaring at the bar that he brought home “a solid seven,” only to wake up next to a “soft four.” Darnold’s has experienced a lot of letdown. However, what if O’Connell is holding out to bring out the little Cousins in Darnold?

Think about the circumstances O’Connell found himself in after joining Minnesota. Although Cousins was a good quarterback option, not all of his coaches were able to get the most out of him. During Cousins’ early years as a starter, Mike Zimmer and Jay Gruden had disagreements with him. When the conflict between the two intensified in 2021, the Vikings brought O’Connell in to assist in rewiring Cousins.

The biggest weakness of the cousins was that they were passive when it counted. His career big-time-throw percentage of 4.4% would have placed him alongside Baker Mayfield, C.J. Stroud, and Joe Burrow in the previous season. Still, he ranks behind Josh Allen, Russell Wilson, and Jimmy Garoppolo with a 3% career turnover rate.

Keeping more of Cousins’ options open was one of O’Connell’s biggest strategies to ensure his comfort. Cousins’s 4.3% big-time throw rate in 2022 was unavoidable due to his insistence on making throws during easier windows. With the exception of the 2020 campaign, his 2.9% turnover rate was the highest during his time with the Vikings.

Following an 8-1 start, Cousins showed signs of comfort with O’Connell’s offense, recording a big-time throw rate of 4.9% and a play rate that was only 1.8% turnover-worthy. In the previous season, the Vikings struggled to a 4-4 record, and Cousins’ big-time throw rate fell to 3%. He did, however, maintain a low turnover rate of 2.3% turnover-worthy play rate.

Having the cousins make the correct reading was crucial. Before sustaining a torn Achilles in a game against the Green Bay Packers on October 30, he did so more often than not while throwing for 2,331 yards, 18 touchdowns, and five interceptions. It’s not like Cousins was the ideal quarterback. Nevertheless, O’Connell liked a lot about him, which may have been the reason he went after Darnold during free agency.

Gardner Minshew and Jacoby Brissett were two other appealing names to take on the Vikings’ bridge role. However, after Cousins moved to Atlanta, Darnold became his primary target. Although there were some questions about a $10 million, one-year contract, O’Connell might feel he can get some value out of Darnold.

Darnold’s career big-time throw percentage isn’t the same. He would have finished last season just behind Kenny Pickett at 3.7%. It’s concerning that Darnold’s career turnover-worthy-play rate is 4.1%. Sam Howell and Daniel Jones’ rates are comparable to those from the previous season. Nevertheless, the infrastructure of the Vikings gives him an advantage.

If Darnold were to reflect on his career, Minnesota is probably the best place he has ever been. He was a better draft prospect than Allen and Lamar Jackson because of his arm talent. But when they drafted him, the New York Jets were in disarray.

Having Adam Gase as his head coach and Quincy Enunwa as his top target, the Jets traded Darnold to the Carolina Panthers, where he was coached by Matt Rhule. You already know how that ended. Rhule is currently the coach of the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Following two years of coming and going from the starting lineup, Darnold signed a free agent contract with the San Francisco 49ers. Working with Shanahan, Cousins’ other admirer, Darnold had an opportunity to operate in a system akin to the one he was a part of in Minnesota. That ought to allow him to experience the same period of adjustment as his cousins without having to make mistakes on the field.

Although it appears insignificant, this could have a significant effect. Despite having experience as a rocket scientist, Joshua Dobbs struggled to fully understand the passing concepts that O’Connell helped him understand during his first two starts of the previous season. Nick Mullens, who had played in O’Connell’s system for a full year, was benched by the Vikings in his place.

O’Connell was unable to resolve Mullens’ turnover issue. Nonetheless, in his three starts, Minnesota’s backup quarterback passed for 370 yards per contest and six touchdowns. Two of those games were losses—one in overtime in Cincinnati and the other by six points to the NFC champion Detroit Lions. Mullens started three games, but the Vikings still had a chance to win two of them even if he didn’t play well.

This was the recurring theme of the 2022 season, in which Cousins kept Minnesota in nearly every game while tying an NFL record with eight fourth-quarter comebacks. Though J.J. McCarthy, a first-round selection, might be physically prepared to lead the Vikings, Darnold’s mental toughness could offer him an advantage as he adjusts to a new system.

O’Connell stated, “Sam’s been great,” this week in an interview with Kay Adams of FanDuel TV. “The physical prowess immediately strikes me. His football-throwing prowess. In terms of technique and fundamentals, he’s really, really improved. playing with the kind of body position that quarterbacks who are considered elite typically have and with incredible balance.

McCarthy has been releasing lines like “I would have waited all day and all two days for you guys” and “I’d run through a brick wall for you” that any Swiftie would be proud of. However, as we already know, O’Connell thought highly of his previous relationship, and perhaps he feels the same way about Darnold as he gets ready to live without Cousins.


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