Kevin O’Connell’s first major hire on the offensive side of the ball is a reunion of sorts, as the Minnesota Vikings head coach appointed Wes Phillips as the team’s offensive coordinator Sunday, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Phillips will be reunited with O’Connell in Minnesota, as he was the passing game coordinator and tight ends coach with the Los Angeles Rams when O’Connell was the offensive coordinator.
Phillips, the son of former Rams defensive coordinator and NFL head coach Wade Phillips (and grandson of former NFL head coach Bum Phillips), will be a strategist in developing the offense in O’Connell’s first season as a head coach.
In Phillips’ first year with the Rams (2019), Tyler Higbee set single-season franchise records for both receptions (69) and receiving yards (734) by a tight end. Higbee also became the first tight end since the merger to have four straight games of seven-plus catches for 100-plus yards.
Phillips was with O’Connell in Washington for two seasons, even though he arrived with the franchise before O’Connell did. O’Connell was hired as the quarterbacks coach in 2017 and was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2019 before joining the Rams in 2020. Phillips was hired by Washington as the tight ends coach in 2014 and held the position for five years before reuniting with Sean McVay in Los Angeles. Both Phillips and O’Connell were reunited in Los Angeles in 2020.
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Phillips got his coaching start in the NFL under his father, Wade. Back when Wade Phillips was head coach of the Dallas Cowboys (2007-10), Wes served as the quality control/offensive assistant coach before becoming the assistant offensive line coach in 2011 and 2012. He was promoted to tight ends coach in 2013.
With Phillips’ knowledge of the tight end position, Vikings tight end Irv Smith should benefit. Smith missed the 2021 season recovering from a meniscus injury, a year which he was supposed to be the starting tight end after Kyle Rudolph moved on to the New York Giants.