INDIANAPOLIS – Vikings coach Kevin O'Connell finalized his staff on Tuesday, adding six assistants including former Vikings linebacker Greg Manusky as inside linebackers coach and a "game management coordinator" in ex-Browns assistant Ryan Cordell.
Cordell, who is also a passing game specialist, will help guide O'Connell's in-game decision making and prepare coaches and players on how to handle varying scenarios. He previously worked with Vikings General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah at two spots in San Francisco (2014-2018) and with the Browns, where he was a research analyst.
Cordell, who has a math and finance background, will help O'Connell in what the new Vikings coach called one of his key philosophies.
"One of them is being situational masters," O'Connell said. "That's a term you throw out there, what does that mean? It means an all-encompassing approach to how you handle situations in games. That's a year-round thing."
"We can be at our best when required," O'Connell added, "because that's what separates teams that win or lose in those situations."
The Vikings also hired A'Lique Terry as assistant defensive line coach, Tony Sorrentino as assistant wide receivers coach, and two quality control assistants in Derron Montgomery on offense and Steve Donatell, a son of defensive coordinator Ed Donatell, on defense.
The younger Donatell held a similar position at Stanford the past three seasons. His brother, Tom, is an assistant coach with the Chargers.
The Vikings will retain wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell, assistant defensive backs coach Roy Anderson, assistant linebackers coach Sam Siefkes and their entire strength staff — Josh Hingst, Marquis Johnson and Derik Keyes — from the 2021 season.
McCardell is the highest-ranking holdover from the previous coaching staff, remaining after receivers Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen voiced their support for him after one season together.
"It was definitely a reason," O'Connell said. "The receiver position is one that takes on the direct persona of the guy that's coaching them a lot of times. Just with those things jumping off the tape and my early dialogue with Keenan, it felt like a real fit."
Manusky played for the Vikings from 1991-93 as part of a 12-year career, and previously coached with O'Connell in Washington from 2017-19.
Terry played with Steve Donatell at Wake Forest. He was an assistant at Hawaii last season after two years at Oregon.
Sorrentino comes from Northern Illinois, where he was wide receivers coach. He was an assistant for the Jaguars from 2013-16.
Montgomery's background is in college coaching; he was senior offensive analyst at the University of Arizona last year.
'Not a bad test'
Prospective NFL players in Indianapolis won't be required this week to take the annual Wonderlic, a 50-question, 12-minute test aimed at judging a player's intelligence, as the league tweaks the pre-draft process — also with revised on-field drills and potential fines for teams that act unprofessionally in interviews.
Browns general manager Andrew Berry called the test "outdated," but Adofo-Mensah said the Wonderlic still had value even as other tests have surpassed it.
"I'm a data guy, so I don't want you to remove data from our datasets," Adofo-Mensah said. "But the Wonderlic test is interesting. They actually gave it to us when we went to San Francisco and applied for jobs. It's a reasoning test. I don't know that it's necessarily correlated precisely to what happens on the field. It's more pattern recognition and things like that. I do think that some of the new tests that have come out are pretty good, but the Wonderlic is not a bad test."
No spot for Spielman?
Former Vikings general manager Rick Spielman, who was fired in January after 10 seasons in the position, was rumored to be a favorite for a senior leadership position in Jacksonville's front office. But Jaguars owner Shad Khan released a statement Tuesday saying he would not be hiring an executive vice president of football operations at this time. Khan cited new head coach Doug Pederson's "structured and disciplined approach" as the reason for not needing another cook in the kitchen.
"That's something we were looking into," Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke said Tuesday at the combine. "We've been stuck in neutral for a while, and we're going to continue to address these levels of leadership. But I think we're very comfortable, and I really appreciate Shad stepping up and having the confidence in myself and Doug that he's showing."