2022 marks the first year in the last nine that Mike Zimmer won’t command the Vikings against the Packers as Minnesota ushers in a new era. First year head coach Kevin O’Connell will begin his campaign to bring Minnesota back with a new look team. While the core of players stays the same, the new schemes and playbooks will offer a different looking Vikings the Packers haven’t seen before.
The Packers have had a steady, and successful time off so far, but the season opener is right around the corner. With only a few days before the teams clash, will the Packers figure out this new look rival?
The Packers are Preparing for Something New
The Minnesota Vikings hired general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah this off-season to right the ship. Adofo-Mensah helped pick out head coach Kevin O’Connell and gave him a chance to hire his own staff. The Vikings kept the same core of people inside of the front office and staff for so long, that now they have brought in young minds.
O’Connell chose to bring in defensive coordinator Ed Donatell and offensive coordinator Wes Phillips to go along with special team coordinator Matt Daniels. The new additions will bring different viewpoints and concepts the Vikings have never deployed before. The changes really start to set in with the defense.
Packers Offense vs Vikings Defense
The one thing everyone should know about Donatell is that he is a Vic Fangio disciple. He is going to heavily run a 3-4 cover all year. Danielle Hunter and Za’Darius Smith will be rushing and applying pressure. Patrick Peterson and Harrison Smith return to cover each corner of the field.
Personnel wise, the Packers understand who they are playing against in the Vikings. However, the key difference is that there is no film on what the Vikings will actually run. Nobody has access to all their packages, so what exactly Ed Donatell has planned isn’t clear, which could be a cause for concern.
Packers Defense vs Vikings Offense
Wes Phillips is also a first year coach, so some of the same concepts follow him. Nobody really knows what Phillips has planned, or what O’Connell has planned. O’Connell should be calling plays and it’ll be interesting to see what input Phillips can provide after the success O’Connell had with the Rams.
Last year, the Rams had 6300+ total offensive yards and scored 51 total offensive touchdowns. Along with that, they averaged six plays per drive and almost 3 minutes on average of drive time. O’Connell may have had a stacked veteran led offense last year, but the stats are no joke.
O’Connell could seriously transform this Vikings offense and finally set Jefferson and Thielen free again. He is most likely going to stick with a pass first offensive and air out the ball. When needed, the Vikings will also pound the ball with Dalvin Cook. Their offense is a threat that the Packers can’t take lightly.