Minnesota Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell hasn’t had time to tune into any of the daily national media coverage that’s begun to spotlight the Vikings amid a historic start to their season.
Despite coming off a signature 33-30 victory over the preseason Super Bowl favorite Buffalo Bills on November 13, O’Connell hasn’t shifted his process one bit. Since returning to Minnesota he’s already moved on to his team’s upcoming matchup with the Dallas Cowboys.
O’Connell was asked about how his team is handling the ramped-up conversations regarding the Vikings in national media, which has wavered between pundits placing them atop their power rankings to others calling the team merely pretenders.
Kevin O’Connell Says Vikings ‘Haven’t Earned Anything’
In a November 16 press conference, O’Connell addressed the Vikings becoming a central talking point and in the Super Bowl conversation on national sports talk shows after weeks of being overlooked.
He looked back on last season as offensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams, referring to a stretch where the Rams went a month without a win — and that nothing is guaranteed in this league.
I can remember not too different of a time in [the Rams’] season last year we ended up not winning a game in the month of November. That wasn’t due to any lack of preparation or focus. It’s difficult to win in this league, our guys know that,” O’Connell said. “Don’t worry about anything other than the opportunity this week because we really haven’t earned anything up until this point. I do feel like we’re confident. I feel like these guys believe in what we’re doing here but we got to prove it each and every week.”
However, Minnesota still hasn’t gotten the unanimous respect you’d expect as an 8-1 team. O’Connell remains unconcerned, knowing that if the Vikings continue to stick to their process, they’ll be among the only teams left to talk about come the end of the regular season.
“I don’t hear it. I don’t have a lot of time taking in the daily shows too much,” he said. “I do say at this point there needs to be some things to talk about I know we have a popular game, but if we focus on anything outside of our preparation for the Dallas Cowboys, I’d be doing a disservice to our team, and I think our players understand that as well.
“The teams that deserve to be talked about will be talked about in the end. We’re working every day to take advantage and try to win a football this week,” O’Connell added.
Vikings Open as Underdogs Against Dallas Cowboys
Despite the Vikings taking down the Bills last week, Minnesota opened the week as underdogs to the Cowboys, who are 1-point favorites over the Vikings, per BetMGM.
Kirk Cousins‘ 2-8 record against the Cowboys dating back to his days in Washington has been a talking point this week, including his past two starts where his team lost to a backup Dallas quarterback.
While not much has changed in Minnesota personnel-wise, the new coaching staff has been the difference-maker in getting the most out of a roster that should realize plenty of Pro Bowl expectations after an impressive start to the season.