Kevin O'Connell just completed the most successful debut season in Vikings coaching history, guiding the 2022 squad to a 13-4 season against all odds.
His success stands in stark contrast to the least successful debut season in Vikings coaching history, when Les Steckel's 1984 Vikings went 3-13.
Norm Van Brocklin's expansion Vikings went 3-11 in 1961 and quite possibly would have gone 3-13 in two more games. Leslie Frazier's 2011 squad also went 3-13, but he had a six-game warmup in 2010 as interim coach and went 3-3 in those games.
Any perceived ties go to Steckel, whose lone season as a drill sergeant-style coach still lives in infamy.
But now we must ask this strange question: Though O'Connell seems to be the anti-Steckel, could Luke Steckel — Les Steckel's son — be the next O'Connell?
Luke Steckel appears to be a rising star in the offensive coaching ranks, having spent 10 years with the Titans while climbing the ladder there. Most recently in 2022 he was the tight ends coach and helped fourth-round rookie Chigoziem Okonkwo to a strong first season (32 catches, 450 yards).
His credentials reportedly have caught the eye of the Chargers, who are looking to hire a new offensive coordinator.
NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reports that Steckel will interview for the vacancy sometime this week, adding "Steckel is a fascinating name. He's 37, a Princeton grad, highly intelligent and widely respected by players and peers."
Speaking of fascinating, how about this: Les Steckel was also 37 when he was hired as the Vikings' head coach, replacing the retired legend Bud Grant after spending five years as the Vikings wide receivers coach.
Those 1984 Vikings weren't that bad through 10 games — a 3-7 record and only one loss by more than nine points. But the last six games? Not much fight left for poor Les. They went 0-6, losing by an average of 27 points in those games.
Les Steckel was fired, Grant returned for one year, and then a few months later Luke Steckel was born. And a month after that, O'Connell was born.
Yes, O'Connell is also 37, having squeezed 10 more wins than Les out of his debut season at that age.
Les Steckel managed a long career as an assistant after being fired by the Vikings, though he never got another head coaching opportunity. After nearly two decades out of the game, he was named QB coach at tiny Centre College in Kentucky in early 2021 to help get them ready for their abbreviated COVID season.
We'll see how far Luke Steckel makes it — and whether he's more like O'Connell or his dad if he ever gets a big chance.