The Minnesota Vikings make changes to their defensive mast. On Thursday, head coach Kevin O’Connell released a statement. announces that the organization has moved to from defense coordinator Ed Donatella. O’Connell added that the team will immediately start searching for a new defense coordinator.
“I informed Ed Donatell today that we will be moving in a different direction in 2023 as defense coordinator,” O’Connell said in a statement. “While it was a difficult decision due to the huge respect I have for Ed as a person and coach, I believe it is the right move for the future of our football team. I want to thank Ed for his commitment to the Vikings this past season, for the positive impact he has had on our players and coaches, and for his role in helping me as a freshman head coach to lay that foundation. We all wish Ed and his wife Shari only the best for the future.
“We will immediately begin searching for this important role as we continue to create the championship standard for the Minnesota Vikings.”
Donatell was brought on board to lead Minnesota’s defense last offseason, joining O’Connell’s staff when he took over as head coach after being offensive coordinator with the Los Angeles Rams. The 65-year-old has been playing in the NFL since 1990, when he broke through as a defensive coach with the New York Jets. He has since jumped the league and held the DC title with various teams: the Packers (2000-03), Falcons (2004-06), Washington (2008) and Broncos (2019-21).
Prior to taking a job with the Vikings, Donatell first assumed the role of senior quarterback with the Seahawks, but decided to leave Seattle on the altar to become Minnesota’s defensive coordinator.
As the season progressed, the Vikings’ defense proved to be the team’s Achilles’ heel. This allowed him to score second in total yards in the NFL, second in passing yards, and third in points allowed. The Minnesota defense was also ranked 27th in the NFL by DVOA. In the Giants’ Super Wild Card Weekend loss, Donatella’s defense yielded 31 points, 431 yards total offense and allowed New York to average 6.3 yards per game as Minnesota was sent home after a 13– 4 and placed second. seeds in NFC. All this was enough for O’Connell to seek new leadership for his defense in the future.