Russini has been around the game of football for a long time. Before her time with The Athletic, she spent eight years at ESPN, so she knows who belongs in these conversations and who does not. So, for her to say that the Minnesota Vikings’ head coach, Kevin O’Connell’s name should be in Coach of the Year conversation means a lot.
The Vikings started 1-4 amid unprecedented turnovers and simply unlucky bounces. They lost their star receiver, Justin Jefferson, for at least five weeks to a hamstring injury. Lost their star quarterback, Kirk Cousins, who was playing near the top of the league in nearly every advanced metric, for the season to an Achilles tear.
But yet, they are currently on a five-game winning streak, are 6-4 on the season and firmly in the third wild-card spot in the playoffs with a 1.5-game lead over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
So, O’Connell may not win the award at the end of the year, but what he has done with this Minnesota team is admirable.