Vikings’ Kevin O’Connell Bites His Tongue on Blown Call in Chiefs Loss

Kevin O'Connell

Getty Kevin O'Connell argues a call with an official during the Vikings' 27-20 loss to the Chiefs on Sunday, October 8, 2023.

Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell took issue with a series of blown calls that transpired on a potential game-tying drive in Sunday’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Facing fourth-and-12 with less than five minutes left in regulation, Rookie wide receiver Jordan Addison appeared to be held by Chiefs cornerback L’Jarius Sneed as Kirk Cousins targeted Addison in the end zone. The flag was thrown, however, the officials picked up the flag after conferring that Cousins’ throw was either tipped or uncacheable.

Sneed, in response to the flag, also took his helmet off and started talking to officials, which is considered unsportsmanlike conduct by NFL rules. Instead of penalizing Sneed, an official simply told the Chiefs cornerback to put his helmet back on.

O’Connell was livid on the sidelines and revealed he didn’t get a thorough explanation of the final call that gave the Chiefs the ball on their 24-yard line.

“Yeah, not much [of an explanation from the officials]. When the flag came out in the first place, was not surprised in that moment that that was called a flag. You know, I guess trying to figure out where and when that veered the other way,” O’Connell said before he bit his tongue in addressing the no-call on Sneed.

“Want to be careful on this one, but that was very unfortunate, as well as you know, the scenario there where not every player on the field had their helmet on, either.”

L’Jarius Sneed Penalty’s Implications Would Not Have Given Vikings the Ball

Although the no-call on Sneed was disappointing, it would not have given the Vikings a fresh set of downs on their drive.

Since the penalty occurred after the whistle, the Chiefs would have still gotten the ball, but would have been penalized half the distance to their goaline — roughly 12 yards.

Those 12 yards may not have impacted the rest of the game much. Sure, there’s a possibility an extra 12 yards would have helped the Vikings get into scoring territory and not need a Hail Mary on the game’s final play — but that begins to extend speculation far beyond the original play.

Kevin O’Connell Makes No Excuses

In light of the missed call, O’Connell did not lean on any excuses as his team’s 1-4 start has largely been a case of self-inflicted turnovers and failure to close games.

“It is what it is. We’ve got to overcome whatever the adversity is and we didn’t do enough of that today and that’s what we’ll go back to work on as a group,” O’Connell said.

Minnesota enters Week 5 as favorites over the Chicago Bears but could be without Justin Jefferson, who suffered a hamstring injury late in the loss to the Chiefs.

“We’ve got to commit to doing — every little thing matters in a game like this in those circumstances when things may or may not go your way,” O’Connell added. “We’ve got to find a way to eliminate that and some of those outcomes from affecting our chances of winning the game, and would like to get that last opportunity to maybe throw one in the end zone there with the group we had out there.”