MINNEAPOLIS — After just one season as the Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator, Ed Donatell is out.
Head coach Kevin O'Connell confirmed the move in a statement, saying "it is the right move for the future of our football team."
O'Connell, who just wrapped up his first season as the Vikings head coach, brought in Donatell after he spent three seasons coaching the Denver Broncos' defense.
"I want to thank Ed for his commitment to the Vikings this past season, for the positive impact he had on our players and coaches and for his role in helping me as a first-year head coach lay this foundation," O'Connell said in his statement. "We all wish Ed and his wife, Shari, only the best in the future."
The Vikings defense ranked 31st in the league in total yards allowed, and surrendered 25.1 points per game, tied for third-worst in the NFL. With the help of a potent offense — which ranked sixth in the league in passing and eighth in scoring — as well as some timely turnovers, the Vikings were able to finish the regular season atop the NFC North with a 13-4 record.
Minnesota's regular-season success, however, didn't carry over into the postseason as the Vikings fell to the New York Giants 31-24 in the NFC wild card round — the fifth time Donatell's defense allowed 30 or more points this season.
"We will immediately begin our search to fill this crucial role as we continue to build a championship standard for the Minnesota Vikings," O'Connell said in his statement.
On Friday, Donatell released a statement thanking his family, the players, coaches and the fans.
"All the best to the Vikings as they move forward with all the positive momentum from this season," he said in his statement. "Best of luck."
Donatell was just one of many question marks for the team entering the offseason. According to OverTheCap, the Vikings also have eight players scheduled for eight-figure salary cap hits in 2023, including quarterback Kirk Cousins, receiver Adam Thielen, right tackle Brian O'Neill, safety Harrison Smith, outside linebackers Za'Darius Smith and Danielle Hunter, running back Dalvin Cook and inside linebacker Eric Kendricks. Tight end T.J. Hockenson is also scheduled to have a $9.3 million hit as well.
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