Vikings fire defensive coordinator Ed Donatell after 1 season, playoff loss

Minnesota's defense was among worst in NFL this season

The Minnesota Vikings will have another new defensive coordinator next season.

The Vikings fired defensive coordinator Ed Donatell after a single season with the franchise, the team announced Thursday.

"Today I informed Ed Donatell we will be going in a different direction at defensive coordinator in 2023," head coach Kevin O'Connell said in a statement, in part. "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.

"I want to thank Ed for his commitment to the Vikings this past season, for the positive impact he had on our player and coaches and for his role in helping me as a first-year head coach lay this foundation."

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Donatell has been coaching in the league in some fashion since 1990. He worked as a defensive coordinator for the Green Bay Packers, Atlanta Falcons and Denver Broncos before joining the Vikings in 2022, when O'Connell replaced Mike Zimmer.

While the team won 13 games this season, the second-most in franchise history, Donatell's defense was one of the worst statistically across the league. The Vikings allowed 25.1 points per game, better than only the Chicago Bears and Arizona Cardinals, and 388.7 yards per game, better than only the Detroit Lions.

The Vikings were knocked out of the playoffs by the New York Giants on Sunday 31-24. The Vikings gave up 431 yards in that loss, and Giants quarterback Daniel Jones mounted five scoring drives of at least 75 yards each.

It's unclear who O'Connell will pick to replace Donatell next season, but he said in the statement that the search will "immediately begin."

Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Ed Donatell
The Vikings fired defensive coordinator Ed Donatell on Thursday after his first season with the franchise. (Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images)