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Kevin O'Connell (American football)

Kevin O'Connell
refer to caption
O'Connell with the Redskins in 2019
Minnesota Vikings
Position:Head coach
Personal information
Born: (1985-05-25) May 25, 1985 (age 38)
Knoxville, Tennessee, U.S.
Height:6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Weight:225 lb (102 kg)
Career information
High school:La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad, California)
College:San Diego State (2003–2007)
NFL draft:2008 / Round: 3 / Pick: 94
Career history
As a player:
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
As a coach:
Career highlights and awards
As a player
  • Second-team All-MW (2007)
As a coach
Career NFL statistics
Pass attempts:6
Pass completions:4
Passing yards:23
Passer rating:73.6
Head coaching record
Regular season:20–14 (.588)
Postseason:0–1 (.000)
Career:20–15 (.571)
Player stats at · PFR
Coaching stats at PFR

Kevin William O'Connell (born May 25, 1985), nicknamed "KOC",[1] is an American football coach and former player who is the head coach for the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League (NFL). O'Connell played quarterback for the San Diego State Aztecs, and was selected by the New England Patriots in the third round of the 2008 NFL draft. O'Connell also played for the Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, and San Diego Chargers before retiring in 2012. O'Connell's NFL coaching career began in 2015; he held various assistant coaching roles on the Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers, Washington Redskins, and Los Angeles Rams (where he won Super Bowl LVI, as offensive coordinator, in the 2021–2022 season).

Early years

O'Connell is the son of a former FBI agent. He spent his childhood in Carlsbad, California, where he attended La Costa Canyon High School.[2] At La Costa Canyon, O'Connell lettered in both football and basketball. In football, as a junior, he passed for 2000 yards and seven touchdowns. As a senior, he was named his team's Most Valuable Player, and selected to All-League, All-North County, and All-San Diego teams. In basketball, he was a two-year letterman, and a teammate of Arizona standout Chase Budinger.[3] O'Connell graduated from La Costa Canyon in 2003.

Playing career


O'Connell graduated from San Diego State University in December 2007 with a degree in political science.[4][5] At SDSU, where he was a four-year team captain, he started 21 games, the sixth-most among SDSU quarterbacks, and ranked first in school history in career rushing yards and second in career rushing touchdowns among quarterbacks; in 2007 he led the team in rushing yards. Passing, he ranked tenth in yardage, eighth in attempts, and seventh in completions.[2]

O'Connell played in both the 2008 Hula Bowl and the 2008 East-West Shrine Game.[4] He was the Kai team quarterback in the 2008 Hula Bowl, where he led the offense and was one of the Kai team's only bright spots. He was 11-of-21 for 147 yards, and completed the pass which resulted in the Kai's only score of the game.[6]

At the 2008 NFL Combine, O'Connell ran the 40-yard dash in 4.61 seconds; only University of San Diego quarterback Josh Johnson had a faster time among quarterbacks.

Pre-draft measurables
Height Weight Arm length Hand span 40-yard dash 10-yard split 20-yard split 20-yard shuttle Three-cone drill Vertical jump Broad jump
6 ft 5 in
(1.96 m)
225 lb
(102 kg)
34+18 in
(0.87 m)
8+78 in
(0.23 m)
4.61 s 1.60 s 2.71 s 4.38 s 7.01 s 31.0 in
(0.79 m)
9 ft 5 in
(2.87 m)
All values from NFL Combine[7][8][9]

New England Patriots

O'Connell with the New England Patriots in 2008

The New England Patriots selected O'Connell with their fourth pick (94th overall) in the third round of the 2008 NFL draft.[10] O'Connell rushed for a touchdown in the 2008 preseason against the New York Giants in the fourth quarter, in a game the Patriots eventually lost 19–14. He made his NFL debut on September 21, 2008, in the fourth quarter against the Miami Dolphins, throwing his first four career passes and completing three.

O'Connell was waived by the Patriots on August 30, 2009, two days after a preseason game in which starting quarterback Tom Brady was injured, and, in the second half, O'Connell threw two interceptions and only threw 3 completions on 10 attempts. The Patriots gave no explanation for releasing O'Connell, who was in competition with veteran quarterback Andrew Walter, signed after his release from the Oakland Raiders, and undrafted free agent rookie Brian Hoyer of Michigan State.

Detroit Lions

O'Connell was claimed off waivers by the Detroit Lions on September 1, 2009.

New York Jets

The Lions traded O'Connell to the New York Jets, for a 7th round 2011 draft pick, on September 6, 2009.[11]

He was named a team captain for the September 20 game against the New England Patriots.[12]

On August 31, 2010, New York released O'Connell.[13] Following his departure, O'Connell found that he had a torn labrum in his throwing arm, an injury he sustained during the preseason.[14] The injury required surgery.

Following his release, the New York Jets re-signed O'Connell to a two-year deal. He had been placed on the injured reserve list.[15] He was later released again on July 29, 2011.[16]

Miami Dolphins

On August 5, 2011, O'Connell signed with the Miami Dolphins, but was waived on September 3.

Second stint with the Jets

O'Connell was claimed off waivers by the Jets on September 4, 2011.[17]

San Diego Chargers

O'Connell was signed by the San Diego Chargers on July 29, 2012, to serve as an emergency back-up in the Chargers' practices with Charlie Whitehurst suffering an injury and Kyle Boller announcing his retirement from the league.[18] He was released on August 12, 2012.

NFL statistics

Year Team Games Passing Rushing
GP GS Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A TD Int Rtg Att Yds Avg TD
2008 NE 2 0 4 6 66.7 23 3.8 0 0 73.6 3 -6 -2.0 0
Career[19] 2 0 4 6 66.7 23 3.8 0 0 73.6 3 -6 -2.0 0

Coaching career

Cleveland Browns

On February 17, 2015, it was announced that O'Connell was named to the position of quarterbacks coach of the Cleveland Browns for the 2015 NFL season.[20]

San Francisco 49ers

O'Connell was hired to the offensive staff of the San Francisco 49ers on February 26, 2016.[21]

Washington Redskins

O'Connell on the sidelines with Alex Smith prior to a game against the Dallas Cowboys

On January 20, 2017, O'Connell was hired as the Washington Redskins' quarterbacks coach, working under head coach Jay Gruden.[22] In 2019, under interim head coach Bill Callahan, O'Connell was promoted to offensive coordinator.[23] After the 2019–20 regular season, O'Connell was not retained by the incoming new head coach, Ron Rivera.[24]

Los Angeles Rams

On January 16, 2020, O'Connell was hired by the Los Angeles Rams as offensive coordinator.[25] In O'Connell's second season with the Rams, their offense ranked 2nd best in receiving touchdowns (41), 5th highest in total yards (4,893), 8th best in total touchdowns (63), and the team won Super Bowl LVI (defeating the Cincinnati Bengals, 23–20).[26][27]

Minnesota Vikings

On February 16, 2022, just three days after his Super Bowl LVI victory, O'Connell was hired by the Minnesota Vikings as the 10th head coach in their franchise history.[28][29] O'Connell's Vikings hiring reunited him with quarterback Kirk Cousins, whom O'Connell had coached in 2017 (Cousins' final year with the Washington Redskins). O'Connell won his first game as head coach against the Green Bay Packers in Week 1 of the 2022 season by a score of 23–7. [30]

O'Connell led the Vikings to a 13–4 record on the season, tying Matt LaFleur and Jim Harbaugh for the second-most wins for a rookie head coach in NFL history. The Vikings won the NFC North for the first time since 2017, which was good enough for the NFC's third seed, but were defeated by the New York Giants in the Wild Card round by a final score of 31–24.

Head coaching record

Team Year Regular season Postseason
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
MIN 2022 13 4 0 .765 1st in NFC North 0 1 .000 Lost to New York Giants in NFC Wild Card Game
MIN 2023 7 10 0 .412 3rd in NFC North
Total 20 14 0 .588 0 1 .000


  1. ^ Schad, Chris (August 7, 2022). "Adam Thielen on KOC's lack of screaming: 'It's kind of almost awkward'". Sports Illustrated Minnesota Sports, News, Analysis, and More. Retrieved November 15, 2022.
  2. ^ a b "SDSU Aztecs Biography for Kevin O'Connell". Archived from the original on August 15, 2012. Retrieved February 26, 2008.
  3. ^ Gasper, Christopher L. (September 28, 2008). "O'Connell Could be Ready in a Snap". Boston Globe. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  4. ^ a b Canepa, Nick (February 12, 2008). "O'Connell's Shot at NFL Looks Legit". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  5. ^ Schrotenboer, Brent (November 29, 2007). "Offensive Evolution Under Long Has Come to Pass for the Aztecs". San Diego Union-Tribune. Archived from the original on February 5, 2013. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  6. ^ "Kevin O'Connell Shines in Hula Bowl". Associated Press. January 12, 2008. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  7. ^ "Kevin O'Connell Draft and Combine Prospect Profile". Retrieved February 15, 2022.
  8. ^ "Kevin OConnell, San Diego State, QB, 2008 NFL Draft Scout, NCAA College Football". Retrieved February 15, 2022.
  9. ^ "Kevin O'Connell 2008 NFL Draft Profile". Retrieved February 15, 2022.
  10. ^ "2008 NFL Draft Listing". Retrieved May 12, 2023.
  11. ^ Kowalski, Tom (February 22, 2010). "Lions have seven picks in upcoming draft". Retrieved March 3, 2010.
  12. ^ Florio, Mike (September 20, 2009). "Kevin O'Connell, team captain?". ProFootballTalk. Retrieved August 31, 2010.
  13. ^ Cimini, Rich (August 31, 2010). "Jets cut QB Kevin O'Connell". ESPN New York. Retrieved August 31, 2010.
  14. ^ Star-Ledger Staff (September 3, 2010). "Jets lose confidence in rookie running back Joe McKnight". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved September 3, 2010.
  15. ^ Star-Ledger Staff (September 8, 2010). "Jets re-sign Kevin O'Connell". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved September 8, 2010.
  16. ^ Mehta, Manish (July 29, 2011). "Jets release backup QB Mark Brunell, still waiting on Nnamdi Asomugha". New York Daily News. Mortimer Zuckerman. Archived from the original on November 3, 2012. Retrieved July 29, 2011.
  17. ^ Vrentas, Jenny (September 4, 2011). "Jets awarded four players off waivers, including QB Kevin O'Connell; cut Aaron Maybin". The Star-Ledger. Archived from the original on October 18, 2012. Retrieved September 4, 2011.
  18. ^ Bair, Scott (July 29, 2012). "Chargers Notes: Former LCC, Aztecs QB O'Connell signed as emergency fill-in". North County Times. Archived from the original on July 31, 2012. Retrieved July 30, 2012.
  19. ^ "Kevin O'Connell". Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved September 23, 2016.
  20. ^ Gribble, Andrew (February 17, 2015). "Kevin O'Connell hired to coach QBs as Browns round out offensive staff". Cleveland Browns. Retrieved February 17, 2015.
  21. ^ Jackson, Zac (February 26, 2016). "49ers adding O'Connell to offensive staff". Retrieved March 3, 2016.
  22. ^ Jackson, Zac (January 20, 2017). "Kevin O'Connell will coach quarterbacks in Washington". NBC Sports. Retrieved January 22, 2017.
  23. ^ "Redskins Promote Kevin O'Connell To Offensive Coordinator; Matt Cavanaugh Moves To Senior Offensive Assistant". Washington Commanders. Retrieved February 4, 2022.
  24. ^ Hoffman, Craig (January 7, 2020). "Kevin O'Connell amicably departs as Redskins hire Scott Turner as OC". Retrieved February 13, 2020.
  25. ^ Jackson, Stu. "Rams announce 2020 coaching additions". Retrieved February 13, 2020.
  26. ^ "2021 Los Angeles Rams Rosters, Stats, Schedule, Team Draftees, Injury Reports". Retrieved February 19, 2023.
  27. ^ "Los Angeles Rams come back to win Super Bowl LVI 23–20 in front of hometown crowd". NBC News. February 14, 2022. Retrieved February 15, 2022.
  28. ^ "Minnesota Vikings Name Kevin O'Connell 10th Head Coach In Franchise History". February 16, 2022. Retrieved February 16, 2022.
  29. ^ "Minnesota Vikings officially hire 'innovative' Kevin O'Connell as new head coach". February 16, 2022. Retrieved February 16, 2022.
  30. ^ "Packers vs. Vikings - Box Score - September 11, 2020". September 11, 2022. Retrieved September 12, 2022.
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Kevin O'Connell (American football)
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