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Moments after it emerged Jim Harbaugh is returning to Michigan, the Minnesota Vikings appear to have found their new head coach.

According to multiple reports, the Vikings are expected to hire Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell to succeed Mike Zimmer.

NFL Network's Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport initially reported the Vikings were "zeroing in" on O'Connell. The Star Tribune's Ben Goessling confirmed the report, saying that O'Connell will "be the guy."

The reports come after a busy day for the Vikings as they interviewed Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh for the same position. Although he entered the day as the favorite to land the job, Goessling reports the Vikings did not extend an offer to Harbaugh.

That led to Harbaugh informing the university he would return for the 2022 season and opened the door for the Vikings to pursue O'Connell.

The 36-year-old comes to Minnesota with several connections. After serving as the Cleveland Browns' quarterback coach in 2015, he was a special projects assistant with the San Francisco 49ers in 2016. 

New general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah was the director of research and development at the time, which could have helped O'Connell develop a relationship to help land the job.

But O'Connell also has experience working with Kirk Cousins. As Washington's quarterbacks coach in 2017, Cousins threw for 4,093 yards, 27 touchdowns and 13 interceptions before signing with the Vikings the following offseason.

Meanwhile, O'Connell was promoted to Washington's offensive coordinator in 2019 before spending the last two seasons with the Rams. Los Angeles ranked 11th in total offense in 2020 and ninth this past season but O'Connell did not call plays under Sean McVay.

The Vikings can not make the hiring official until the Rams play in the Super Bowl on Feb. 13. But O'Connel and Adofo-Mensah will form a new brain trust in Minnesota that will make several critical decisions this offseason.

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