Saturday, May 14, 2022

Vikings’ Kevin O’Connell gets glowing praise from ex-Packers QB after tryout

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The Minnesota Vikings stayed at quarterback despite head coach and general manager changes.

Kirk Cousins ​​agreed to a contract extension through 2023, while the Vikings also re-signed his backup and Sean Mannion this offseason. The new regime had not brought any new arms to the roster near the end of the 2021 season, despite skepticism about the team’s future as quarterbacks from Cousins ​​to Kellen Mond, who was selected in the 2021 third round.

That changed at the start of the rookie mini camps on Friday.

The Vikings brought in a former Green Bay Packers quarterback who received high praise from new head coach Kevin O’Connell.

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On Friday, former Packers quarterback Brett Hundley was brought in along with former University of Washington quarterback Patrick O’Brien to facilitate the first day of rookie minicamps.

Hundley, a fifth-round pick by Green Bay in 2015, started in nine games for the Packers in 2017 after Aaron Rodgers suffered a season-ending collarbone injury. He was traded to the Seattle Seahawks the next offseason and has bounced around the league, stopping at training camps for the Arizona Cardinals and Indianapolis Colts. He played his last game with the Cardinals in 2019.

While Hundley, 28, has been a stock body for the past two seasons, O’Connell said he’s been “fascinated” by the former Packers quarterback.

“I spent a lot of time getting (Hundley) out of the draft (2015),” O’Connell said in a May 13 news conference. “I’ve always been fascinated by him as a quarterback in this league. He kind of jumped around, was in a few places, was trained well, you can see that in the briefing room.

O’Connell encouraged O’Brien and Hundley to compete as if there was a potential spot on the line.

“That’s why the tryout boys are here,” O’Connell said. “You are here for a reason. I told them that. Go ahead and we’ll see how it all unfolds.”

The Vikings currently have Cousins, Mannion, Moon and Nate Stanley on their roster from Round 7 of 2020 and may look to add more weapons once full minicamps begin on May 17th.

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O’Connell’s early practice as a head coach has already moved away from the traditional programs of many teams in the NFL.

The former Los Angeles Rams coordinator sent just 42 players onto the field last Friday, the first day of rookie minicamps. His goal was to have more of a passcamp focused on skill players and defenders, rather than trying to rate linemen practicing without pads during OTAs.

“We tried to keep the numbers a little lower than the traditional 70, 80 guys, when we’ve had some team practice and the ball is down a couple, the players are down a couple,” said O’ Connell . “What we’re doing is these competitive 7v7 competitions and turning it into a pseudo passing camp, just to make sure we’re getting quality reps, we can install some things and then try the guys on both really evaluate sides of the ball when the ball is in the air.

“These big boys, tomorrow we’re going to try to put something in the rules where we can at least get these boys to line up,” O’Connell added. What we’re really trying to do is acclimate these guys overall — where they go in meetings, where they go in the building, where they go for lunch.”

The former Los Angeles Rams coordinator sent just 42 players onto the field last Friday, the first day of rookie minicamps. His goal was to have more of a passcamp focused on skill players and defenders, rather than trying to rate linemen practicing without pads during OTAs.

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