Minnesota Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell has turned one of the NFL’s biggest personalities into a believer.
Pat McAfee, a former Indianapolis Colts punter turned acclaimed podcaster, admitted he slept on the Vikings in the offseason on a recent airing of the Pat McAfee Show.
But no more.
McAfee sounded the sirens that he’s doubling down on the Vikings thanks to O’Connell, who he called a “damn mastermind” in an epic rant following Minnesota’s 23-7 victory over the Green Bay Packers on September 11.
Pat McAfee Calls Vikings Coach Kevin O’Connell a ‘Damn Mastermind’
On a September 12 episode of the Pat McAfee Show 2.0, McAfee credited O’Connell with shifting the show’s perspective of the Vikings after Week 1.
“Kevin O’Connell might be a damn mastermind over there for the Vikings,” McAfee said. “If you back to the LA Rams on Thursday night what they’d look [like]? They looked bad. Kevin O’Connell goes to the Vikings guess what they look like… it was a goddamn show.”
O’Connell’s deployment of the offense left McAfee eager to see how the offense develops after a stellar first run against the Packers, totaling 395 yards on a Green Bay defense that was projected as a top-five unit entering the season.
McAfee also admitted that he didn’t cover the Vikings enough in the offseason, but made up for lost time by demanding more respect for Minnesota.
“We should have a little bit more respect in these microphones for the Minnesota Vikings and I think everybody around the NFL is going to have more respect for the Minnesota Vikings because of what they did just yesterday,” McAfee said.
“The Vikings might go on to become a historic f****** team, not only in the NFC North but in their franchise, they looked unbelievable,” he added.
Adam Thielen Sees Contagious Confidence in Kevin O’Connell
In a September 12 virtual press conference, Thielen elaborated on the team’s season opener.
With many questions surrounding how the first-year coaching staff’s preparation would perform in the regular season, the players delivered following months of encouragement from O’Connell.
“You could see it in Coach [O’Connell] very early on. Just his confidence. The way that he calls plays. The confidence he had installing the plays and how him and his staff were going to make this our offense. Just his love of the game,” Thielen said. “Hell, when you’re on the football field with him you can see how much he loves it. You can tell he loves it. How detailed he is. How creative he can be and how he wants to have success. It’s pretty cool to be around that. It pushes you a little bit and you got to have great leaders like that who love the game and love to be around the guys.”
The Vikings (1-0) have basked in a Week 1 honeymoon but will have to return to the grindstone for a Week 2 primetime matchup on Monday Night Football with the Philadelphia Eagles (1-0).