Will Vikings Live Up To High Bar Set In Kevin O’Connell’s First Season?

Will Vikings Live Up To High Bar Set In Kevin O’Connell’s First Season?
Fact Checked by Thomas Leary

Few NFL head coaches have begun their careers the way that Kevin O’Connell of the Minnesota Vikings did in 2022. That’s because O’Connell led the Vikings to a 13-5 record during his first year, leading Minnesota to the postseason for the first time in three years along the way.

The Vikings thrived in 2022, despite posting a -3 point differential, becoming the 10th team in NFL history to win at least 10 games with a negative total. 

MinnesotaBets.com took a look back at the history of Vikings coaches to determine if O’Connell can deliver the most successful multiyear start in franchise history, with playoff records included. 

And while we might be a ways away from Week 1, you can track the Vikings playoff chances all season right here on MinnesotaBets.com.

Vikings Coach Records Through First 2 Seasons

Rank Coach Record Through First 2 Seasons
1 Dennis Green (1992-1993) 20-14
2 Jerry Burns (1986-1987) 19-15 (2 playoff wins)
3 Mike Zimmer (2014-2015) 18-14
4 Mike Tice (2002-2003) 15-17
5 Brad Childress (2006-2007) 14-18
6 Bud Grant (1967-1968) 11-14-3

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Will O’Connell Set Vikings Two-Year Record in 2023?

O’Connell enters his second year eight wins shy of passing legendary Vikings head coach Dennis Green for the best two-year win total in team history. 

Green went 20-14 with the club between 1992 and 1993, before leading Minnesota to six playoff trips in seven years. Based on the preseason win total that oddsmakers at BetMGM Sportsbook have pinned on the Vikings (8.5), it seems like many expect O’Connell to win enough games to pass Green on Minnesota’s wins chart.  Expect BetMGM Minnesota to be a leading player in the market when the state eventually launches..  

Playoff Win Would Truly Change Narrative

The Vikings as of now have the seventh best NFC title odds at +1600 over at BetMGM. As for the Vikings Super Bowl odds, look no further than right here. 

According to CBS Sports, the Vikings have the 19th hardest strength of schedule of any NFL team (based on 2022-23 win percentages), at .497, meaning Minnesota’s playoff path could be much worse. The first five games of the season will be an interesting test case, as they'll get the rebuilding Buccaneers and Panthers, but also the talented Chargers and both Super Bowl teams from last season in the Eagles and Chiefs. 

Still, O’Connell is well positioned to pass Green on the Vikings’ two-year win total leaderboard in 2023, especially if the Vikings are able to start strong. 

While Vikings fans should be encouraged, O'Connell's mark would mean a great deal more if he can nab a playoff win this season. To date, Jerry Burns is the only Vikings coach to win a playoff game in his first two years at the helm.



Christopher Boan

Christopher Boan is a lead writer at MinnesotaBets.com, specializing in covering state issues. He has covered sports and sports betting in Arizona for more than seven years, including stops at ArizonaSports.com, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.