It may be over before it started for newly added assistant coach Ed Donatell and the Seattle Seahawks. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Donatell is on the verge of becoming the new Vikings defensive coordinator.
“Ed Donatell has emerged as the favorite or the Vikings defensive coordinator position, sources tell @DanGrazianoESPN and me,” Fowler tweeted on February 9. “Seattle – which was hiring him as a defensive assistant – is now bracing to lose him. New coach Kevin O’Connell getting plenty of experience on defense.”
One day later, St. Paul Pioneer Press’ Chris Tomasson reported the Vikings plan to officially announce Donatell’s hiring in the week following the Super Bowl. The news comes after Fowler previously reported on February 4 that Donatell was “set to join” the Seahawks in a “senior defensive role.” Donatell was expected to work as part of new Seahawks defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt’s staff under head coach Pete Carroll.
Sports Illustrated’s Corbin Smith described Donatell’s move to the Vikings as a “shocker.”
“Woah. Now this would be a shocker,” Smith noted in a series of February 9 tweets. “Donatell wasn’t even reported as a candidate for the Vikings position. …These coaching situations are always fluid. Donatell likely had resounded to idea he wouldn’t be a defensive coordinator this season, but when opportunity knocks, you have to take it.”
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Seattle Is Still in Discussions to Add Desai
Donatell, 65, was the Broncos’ defensive coordinator last season and has ties to Vic Fangio’s defensive scheme, as does Hurtt. Another member of Fangio’s coaching tree is former Bears defensive coordinator Sean Desai, who has also been linked to the Vikings and Giants vacancies. Smith pondered if Desai could still share the same defensive coordinator title with Hurtt in Seattle.
“Pure speculation here, but with sources indicating Seattle still wants both Karl Scott and Sean Desai, have to wonder if co-coordinator is still on table between Hurtt and Desai,” Smith noted. “Titles are only arbitrary at this time.”
The Seahawks Hired Former Alabama Coach Karl Scott: Report
The Seahawks have already added former Nick Saban disciple Karl Scott to coach the team’s secondary, per On3 Sports’ Matt Zenitz. Scott was the Vikings’ secondary coach last season and spent the previous three years at Alabama.
The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman detailed Scott’s “strong” pedigree.
“Karl Scott’s defensive pedigree is STRONG,” Feldman tweeted February 9 after news of the Seahawks’ hire broke. “Early in his coaching career, he worked with gurus Ron Roberts and Dave Aranda, and now his last three bosses: Nick Saban, Mike Zimmer and Pete Carroll. Those are some big-time defensive minds to be around.”
After the Seahawks opted not to bring back former defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr., The News Tribune’s Gregg Bell detailed how Carroll wants to change the defensive philosophy heading into next season.
“Carroll wants the Seahawks defense to be more aggressive, to dictate more to offenses in 2022,” Bell wrote on January 19. “He wants to play more single-high safety coverage. To do that, he will need to re-sign Diggs, a Pro Bowl free safety for the season straight year coming off a broken leg in the season finale Jan. 9. Carroll would rather use Jamal Adams more in a Chancellor-like strong safety role, closer to the line.
“Carroll wants to end the soft, two-high safety coverage he and Norton used for too much of the 2021 season, because they felt the Seahawks had to. The coaches didn’t trust their revolving cast of new cornerbacks.”