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Vikings Announce Major Coaching Staff Change

Minnesota Vikings helmet

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - OCTOBER 17: A detailed photo of a Minnesota Vikings helmet during their game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on October 17, 2021 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

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

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

"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."

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

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.

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.

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.

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.