Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell was born in Tennessee, raised in California, and evidently rooted for the Philadelphia Eagles as a child. Catch all that?
The Vikings take on those same Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on Monday night.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported the O’Connell-Eagles connection on Monday, just hours before the two teams tango as a battle of unbeatens. The Vikings downed the Green Bay Packers in Week 1, while the Eagles outlasted the upstart Detroit Lions to start the 2022 campaign.
EJ Smith from The Philadelphia Enquirer wrote in the piece about O’Connell’s Eagles ties, “When Kevin O’Connell thinks about Philadelphia, he’s flooded with memories of Veteran Stadium, his grandmother’s cooking, and antagonizing the classmates in his New Jersey grade school.”
Those items led to O’Connell’s Eagles fandom as a kid — along with a fascination with Randall Cunningham.
Smith also mentioned on Twitter that O’Connell’s father, an FBI agent, aided in the apprehension of John Gotti. Therefore, the O’Connell family is rather interesting from a litany of perspectives.
Meanwhile, O’Connell’s boss, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah grew up — you guessed it — as an Eagles fan. In the article from Smith, Cunningham is credited as O’Connell’s gridiron inspiration. Adofo-Mensah, too, idolized Cunningham. Last weekend, Chris Tomasson from the Pioneer Press noted about Adofo-Mensah, “Kwesi Adofo-Mensah grew up in the Philadelphia area admiring Eagles QB Randall Cunningham and has said he served as inspiration in his road to becoming the first Vikings Black GM.”
So, it seems like the Vikings are led by two Eagles fans drawn to the sport by the same player, Randall Cunningham, who was Minnesota’s quarterback from 1997 to 1999. What a world.
On the prudent football aspect, the Vikings indeed attempt to ascertain a 2-0 record for the first time since 2016. The Eagles haven’t won a Week 2 game since — are you ready for this? — the 2016 season. In that regard, something’s gotta give. Moreover, the national media loves broadcasting Kirk Cousins’ “quarterback record” on television tubes, which is a meager 2-9. What they don’t put on the screen is Cousins’ 6-3 (.666) “quarterback record” against the Eagles. Like the weird 2016 voodoo, something’s gotta give for Cousins’ performance. Does bad-Kirk from ghosts of Monday night past show up in Pennsylvania, or is it the Eagle killer?
In Cousins’ corner are two men who started football life as Eagles enthusiasts. And, for the most part, that was previously unknown before Monday morning.
Thanks, Mr. Cunningham.
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 Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).