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Vikings Announce Major Coaching Staff Change

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On Thursday, the team released a statement from head coach Kevin O'Connell revealing the decision to part ways with Donatell after one season.

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"Today I informed Ed Donatell we will be going in a different direction at defensive coordinator in 2023," O'Connell said. "While this was a difficult decision because of the tremendous respect I have for Ed as a person and a coach, I believe it is the right move for the future of our football team."

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The Vikings hired Donatell after three seasons as the Denver Broncos' defensive coordinator. They improved from 21st to eighth in total defense in 2021.

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However, Minnesota allowed the NFL's second-most passing and total yards during the 2022 season. Only the 4-13 Arizona Cardinals and 3-14 Chicago Bears ceded more points.

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Those problems extended into the postseason when New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones gashed the Vikings for 379 total yards (301 passing, 78 rushing) in a 31-24 upset win at U.S. Bank Stadium.

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A talented offense starring Justin Jefferson led Minnesota to 13 wins, 11 by eight points or fewer, but that good fortune in close games expired Sunday.

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Donatell has served as a defensive coordinator for five NFL teams (Vikings, Broncos, Green Bay Packers, Atlanta Falcons, Washington Commanders) since 2000 and was also a defensive backs coach for the San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bears. 

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The Minnesota Vikings fired defensive coordinator Ed Donatell following a swift postseason exit.