In what could fall in “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up” territory, a popular Minnesota Vikings-themed podcast took issue with the method used to fire Vikings defensive coordinator Ed Donatell.
Donatell was relieved of duty Thursday night, as the Vikings were bounced from the postseason last weekend, mainly due to porous defense.
Popular Vikings Podcast Roasts HC for Not Firing Ed Donatell via Press Conference
The Vikings ranked 27th in the NFL via defensive DVOA, and Donatell’s men could not stop Daniel Jones in the Wildcard Round, making the defensive conundrum too loud to ignore in the offseason. Accordingly, Minnesota will onboard a new defensive coordinator in 2023, likely with an overhauled defensive roster as well.
The Vikings held a year-end press conference Wednesday, just one day before the Donatell move. At that event, head coach Kevin O’Connell told reporters he was in “evaluation mode” about his coaching staff, including Donatell, and would make decisions soon.
Well, he did precisely that one day later, firing Donatell and beginning a search for the next defensive bossman.
The YouTube show and podcast PurpleFTW! wasn’t impressed with O’Connell’s technique. The podcast’s Twitter account tweeted Thursday night, “O’Connell not having the stones to fire Donatell at the press conference, a decision that was clearly already made, is kinda weak.”
It seems the PurpleFTW! account would’ve preferred that O’Connell deliver the job-ending news via press conference in public — and behind Donatell’s back for the world to see before Donatell was personally notified.
Figure that one out.
Considerate professionals tend to inform coworkers about changes in work status — in this case, a termination — face to face. One might suggest it would be cruel or uncouth to fire someone by press conference or word of mouth. In that vein, O’Connell delivering the sorrowful news in person seems like a more sensible manner of doing business.
The Vikings ranked 12th in the NFL via takeaways, snatching the ball away from opponents at a better clip than 20 other ballclubs. That tendency kept Donatell’s defense afloat during the regular season, and in the games when turnovers were sparse, well, Minnesota’s defense just wasn’t very good. No better evidence exists than the Wildcard Playoff game, as Daniel Jones and the Giants pranced up and down the field unimpeded.
So, under the bright lights of the postseason, the Vikings fired up their worst defensive performance of the year, and O’Connell had a tricky choice to make — grant Donatell the benefit of the doubt? Or pull the trigger on a new approach?
He chose the latter, and some folks wished the news would’ve been delivered in public, not face to face.
For posterity, he’s the tweet.
Donatell’s successor should be chosen within a couple of weeks.
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).