NFL football and the people involved pride themselves on being grizzled, tough guys. This is especially so on the defensive side of the ball where their entire job revolves around hitting people and putting them on the ground. Thus, naturally, Giants defensive coordinator Wink Martindale had a hilarious comp for Kevin O’Connell, the Vikings head coach, when asked about matching up with his opponent.
The Giants DC compared the Vikings head coach to pop-singer Harry Styles.
If you don’t pay too much attention to the details, I kind of see what Martindale is talking about. Get KOC to grow his hair out a bit, and you could definitely mistake them for each other in a crowd.
That being said, Martindale probably isn’t referring to looks with his comparison. Instead, he’s referring to coaching style. The Vikings hired Kevin O’Connell in the aftermath of the Mike Zimmer-era; an era of football in which the Vikings were a very old school, defense-first team.
Nowadays, they run a pass-first offense, and they attempt to use their offense to bail out a subpar defense. Offensively, the Vikings rank among the NFL’s top 10 for points scored, passing yards, passing touchdowns, and first downs. On defense, the Vikings are among the worst in points allowed, yards allowed, and passing yards allowed.
The Vikings picked a trendy, young head coach as their option to run a popular style of football in today’s NFL. Meanwhile, Martindale is suggesting he runs a rugged, traditional defense for the New York Giants.
That might be true if the Giants defense hadn’t been playing pretty horribly in 2022, almost making them comparable to the Vikings group. Currently, this is where the New York football Giants rank defensively during the 2022 NFL season:
- Points allowed: 14th
- Yards allowed: 26th
- Passing yards allowed: 16th
- Rushing yards allowed: 30th
Overall, much of the Giants success in 2022 has been due to the improved play from QB Daniel Jones as well as their star running back Saquon Barkley. Granted, New York has some playmakers on the defensive side of the ball, such as rookie pass rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux.
Thibodeaux won NFC Defensive Player of the Week in Week 15’s victory over the Commanders, so perhaps he can continue to put pressure on the Vikings offense. That being said, O’Connell has proven that he is a creative head coach and a mastermind on the offensive side of the ball.
The Minnesota Vikings likely won’t find too much trouble moving the ball against the New York Giants this weekend with star talent like QB Kirk Cousins, running back Dalvin Cook, and a receiving quartet of T.J. Hockenson, Justin Jefferson, K.J. Osborn, and Adam Thielen. I guess we’ll have to see what Martindale’s strategy for attempting to stop this group is when Saturday arrives.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. He also earned minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys marathon training, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his opinions, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.