The Minnesota Vikings intend to finalize a deal with Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell after the Super Bowl to be the team's next head coach, according to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora. The move cannot become official until after Los Angeles' meeting with the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI on Feb. 13.
The coach had also interviewed with the Jaguars and Broncos for their respective vacancies. After conducting an in-person interview with Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh on Wednesday, Minnesota informed its other finalists -- Giants defensive coordinator Patrick Graham and Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris -- that they were no longer being considered, according to NFL Media's Tom Pelissero.
O'Connell, 36, has served in his current role for two seasons. He had previously spent three seasons with the Washington Commanders, including the 2019 season in which he served as offensive coordinator. In Kirk Cousins' final season with Washington, O'Connell was his quarterback's coach. His coaching career began in 2015 as a quarterbacks coach with the Cleveland Browns under head coach Mike Pettine. In 2016, he moved on to San Francisco and worked on special projects for the 49ers alongside new Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah.
The California native will become the 10th head coach in Vikings history.
Los Angeles was aggressive last offseason, acquiring Matthew Stafford in a trade with the Lions. The Rams offense moved up two spots from No. 10 overall in 2020 to No. 8 overall in Football Outsiders' DVOA, which is a weighted metric designed to measure offensive effectiveness.
Prior to coaching, the San Diego State product represented five organizations over the course of five seasons in the NFL. He served as Tom Brady's backup with New England in 2008 after being taken in the third round of the draft.
For the second consecutive year, a Rams assistant coach has been hired elsewhere as head coach. Brandon Staley was hired by the Chargers last offseason.
According to Spotrac.com, the Vikings are projected to have the fourth lowest salary cap space at roughly $-14 million. They do have the rights to the No. 12 overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft.
The NFL pushed back the league calendar to accommodate the addition of Week 18, and that has had a direct impact on the hiring process. A year ago, the first head coaching hire was made Jan. 14 and the final hire was made Jan. 29. The Giants, Raiders, Bears, Broncos and now Vikings have hired new head coaches. The Jaguars, Dolphins, Texans and Saints still have active openings.