A mentor to former Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer, Bill Parcells has some advice for the purple and gold team — and the 13 other squads that reached the 2022 postseason.
Parcells, a two-time Super Bowl champion and two-time AP Coach of the Year, contributes to The 33rd Team these days and offered thoughts this week on the future of all playoff teams.
The 81-year-old last coached for the Dallas Cowboys in 2006 — with the aforementioned Zimmer at his side — and has served as a “courtesy consultant” for the Cleveland Browns since 2014. Parcells was also inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013.
NFL Coaching Legend Has Helpful Advice for Vikings
Known for his ornery-but-winning ways, Parcells seems somewhat milquetoast about the Vikings immediate future, “They won a lot of games, but I don’t think the way they won this year is sustainable.”
The Vikings won the NFC North for the first time since 2017 with new head coach Kevin O’Connell in the saddle. His 13-4 record was the best by a first-year head coach in Vikings history, surpassing Dennis Green (11-5) from 1992.
Parcells continued, “I give them all the credit in the world. I give their team and their coaching staff credit. They had a lot of one-score games, but their defense is not going to allow them to continue to win. I don’t think they’ll win as many games next year as they did this year if they’re stuck with the same ratio offensively to defensively (-3 point differential despite a 13-4 regular-season record).”
Minnesota indeed struggled defensively, only kept afloat by opportune turnovers and a rigid 4th Quarter defense that was generally absent in Quarters 1 through 3. After the Vikings Wildcard Round playoff exit at the hands of the New York Giants — one of Parcells’ former teams — O’Connell parted ways with defensive coordinator Ed Dontell after just one season.
“They must absolutely improve their defense if they’re going to be a serious contender,” Parcells warned in summary.
Minnesota’s new-look defense — nobody is too sure as of January 25th what it will look like — will take shape following the hire of a new defensive coordinator, free agency, and the 2023 NFL Draft. This week, Minnesota is interviewing four prospective defensive coordinators: Sean Desai (Seattle Seahawks), Brian Flores (Pittsburgh Steelers), Ryan Nielsen (New Orleans Saints), and Mike Pettine (Vikings). The decision on Donatell’s replacement could arrive in days — and a couple of weeks at the latest.
On the whole, Parcells is absolutely correct. It’s outrageously unsurprising that the defense-first coach, Parcells, endorsed a stauncher defense for the Vikings, but he is not wrong.
In fact, any semblance of defense against the Giants a couple of weeks ago likely would’ve granted the Vikings access to the Divisional Round.
Minnesota ranked sixth-worst in the NFL per defensive DVOA in 2022.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).
All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.