The reigning Super Bowl champions will kick off the NFL season in Thursday night's primetime slot on September 8, as the Los Angeles Rams host this season's Super Bowl favourites, the Buffalo Bills.

There will be plenty of the Rams in this season's marquee timeslots as the full 2022-23 schedule was released on Thursday, including a Monday night fixture against the Green Bay Packers in week 15, and a Christmas Day game against Russell Wilson's Denver Broncos six days later.

The Broncos will not have to wait long for their first eyebrow-raising matchup, travelling to take on Wilson's former team, the Seattle Seahawks, in the first Monday night fixture of the season.

Week one's third primetime game sees Tom Brady's Tampa Bay Buccaneers heading to 'Jerry World' to take on the Dallas Cowboys.

Patrick Mahomes – the man with the richest contract in the sport – will get his first primetime appearance of the season in week two's Thursday night showdown, as his Kansas City Chiefs host arguably Mahomes' only competition for best young quarterback, taking on Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers.

Four-time MVP Aaron Rodgers gets the Sunday night fixture in week two against the Packers' long-time rivals as the Chicago Bears come to town, and his week three matchup against Brady's Bucs will be must-see TV.

The Rams have the toughest strength-of-schedule based on their opponents' 2021-22 records (164-125, .567 winning percentage), while the Cowboys and the Washington Commanders are tied for the easiest schedule (133-155-1, .462 winning percentage).

Meanwhile, the Detroit Lions will be the only team in NFL this season to not have a primetime game.

The complete week one schedule features:

Buffalo Bills at Los Angeles Rams (Thursday night)

New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons (Sunday afternoon)

New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins

Baltimore Ravens at New York Jets

Cleveland Browns at Carolina Panthers

Philadelphia Eagles at Detroit Lions 

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals 

Jacksonville Jaguars at Washington Commanders

San Francisco 49ers at Chicago Bears

Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans 

New York Giants at Tennessee Titans (Sunday late-afternoon)

Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings

Las Vegas Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers 

Kansas City Chiefs at Arizona Cardinals 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Dallas Cowboys (Sunday night)

Denver Broncos at Seattle Seahawks (Monday night)

Triple Crown wide receiver Cooper Kupp insists he is looking only for a "fair" deal with the Los Angeles Rams and is not worried about "trying to beat anybody" during a stunning offseason for players at his position.

Kupp was the NFL's dominant wideout last year in a title-winning season for the Rams.

The fifth-year star led the league in receptions (145), receiving yards (1,947) and receiving touchdowns (16), also setting clear career bests in each category, to be named the Offensive Player of the Year.

He continued that form into the playoffs, with 33 receptions for 478 yards and six TDs, including two scores in the Super Bowl win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Kupp, who is under contract through 2023, should therefore be in line for a big pay day given the deals handed out to his fellow receivers since the end of last season.

Davante Adams left the Green Bay Packers to land a five-year, $140million contract with the Las Vegas Raiders, before Tyreek Hill similarly departed the Kansas City Chiefs and signed for four years on a $120m deal with the Miami Dolphins.

Stefon Diggs stayed on the Buffalo Bills but was also rewarded and is set to earn $96m over four years.

Kupp, who outperformed all three players in 2021, will make just $14.9m next season, yet he insists he is not concerned by what others are doing.

"I don't think that's really kind of the approach that I take," he said.

"I definitely think there's a place you want to be. There's a place that you feel like is fair, a place for me and for this organisation.

"I'm not trying to beat anybody. I'm not trying to compare myself to anyone else. It's more about being in a place that's just right for both sides."

Other star wide receivers, including Deebo Samuel of the San Francisco 49ers, are skipping on-field offseason workouts as they pursue lucrative contracts.

But Kupp is not following suit, explaining: "I think it's important to be here, be around the guys and be around this team.

"The goal at the end of the day is to win a world title. Whatever is going to get us in a place where we can compete for another world title, put us in a better position where we can be a better football team, that's the goal.

"I think the best thing I can do is to be a part of that."

The NFL Draft is rarely dominated by teams in contention to lift the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the upcoming season.

Though trades regularly shuffle the pack, more often than not the draft headlines are made by teams who finished at the wrong end of the regular-season standings in the previous campaign, such is the nature of league's annual selection meeting.

While those franchises with rosters capable of contending to go all the way to the Super Bowl may not be as reliant on the draft as those rebuilding their teams, the selections they make can be critical in providing the potential final piece of what they hope will be a championship-winning puzzle.

Inevitably, not every team expected to contend in April will do so once the season gets under way in September.

Yet we can make educated guesses as to which teams will be in the mix to go deep into the postseason in each conference.

Here Stats Perform has identified four such teams from each conference, with the Cleveland Browns omitted from the list due to the threat of a possible suspension for new starting quarterback Deshaun Watson.

With help from some advanced metrics, we look at what each of these eight teams need to add in the draft to maximise their hopes of standing underneath the confetti in Arizona next February.

NFC

Los Angeles Rams

Identifying draft needs for the Rams is a difficult task not because they don't have any, but because they so often fill their holes by trading away their picks to land superstars.

This year, the Rams don't pick until 104 overall in the third round, not that the Super Bowl champions will mind skipping the first two rounds.

When it finally comes to their turn, the interior of the offensive line stands out as an area of weakness, while the Rams might also be eyeing an edge rusher to help fill the void left by Von Miller, whose stunt-adjusted pass rush win percentage of 43.4 was fifth among edge rushers with at least 100 one-on-one matchups last year.

San Francisco 49ers

The Niners are in a similar position to the Rams in that they don't have a lot of needs, though the urgency is greater for a team that let a fourth-quarter lead slip against Los Angeles in the NFC Championship Game.

Right guard has been a long-standing issue for San Francisco, and the Niners will also need to find a developmental center to replace Alex Mack when he eventually retires. Nebraska's Cam Jurgens is a name to watch there.

San Francisco do not pick until 61st overall in the second round, having traded this year's first-rounder in the package that landed Trey Lance. A defense that ranked first in pass rush win rate could be stacked further by another edge rusher to pair with Nick Bosa, and there is a clear need next to Jimmie Ward at safety.

Of course, what would really make it a successful draft for the Niners would be finally trading Jimmy Garoppolo to secure more picks.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

There's a theme here, and the theme is that trying to find needs for NFC contenders is tough, especially in the case of the Bucs, who brought back Tom Brady after he quickly got bored with retirement and re-signed a host of free agents many expected to depart.

With Todd Bowles assuming the head coaching reins from Bruce Arians, it's fair to anticipate a focus on the defense from the Bucs, who own the 27th pick in the first round as well as two other top-100 selections.

More beef on the interior of the defensive line is required with Ndamukong Suh as yet not re-signed and, though Logan Ryan and Keanu Neal have signed as safety help to atone for Jordan Whitehead's departure, a rookie who can make a difference down in the box and in coverage would be a welcome addition to the defense.

Green Bay Packers

Now this is more like it. The Packers have one glaring, obvious need and there's no way they can fail to address it, right?

Brian Gutekunst may have a history of eschewing first-round wide receivers but, after trading Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders, it would be an extremely bemusing move to risk Aaron Rodgers' wrath and do so again.

Chris Olave, Jameson Williams, Treylon Burks, Jahan Dotson... they all must be in the mix here and, with two selections in the first round, the Packers could even double up at the position.

There are other holes. The secondary could use some more quality depth, and an offensive line that ranked 28th in run-block win rate could also be improved, but the Packers' hopes of getting over the hump in 2022 likely rest on their ability to give Rodgers weapons that mitigate the impact of Adams' stunning departure.

AFC

Kansas City Chiefs

After Patrick Mahomes faced the most pressures in a Super Bowl since 2006 in consecutive years (28 in SB LIV, 34 in SB LV), the Chiefs overhauled their offensive line heading into 2021 and were confident they were on course for the title game once again – only for Mahomes' own stunning playoff collapse to end both the team's season and the career of Tyreek Hill in Kansas City.

Hill's departure in a trade to the Miami Dolphins leaves a gaping hole.

New signing Marquez Valdes-Scantling at least offers a downfield option, but that was his sole responsibility with the Packers in 2021, recording a league-high average depth of target of 17.6 yards but making just 26 catches. Valdes-Scantling and fellow recruit JuJu Smith-Schuster, who's coming off shoulder surgery, have just one 1,000-yard season between them; Hill has four.

Thankfully, the Hill deal means the Chiefs have plenty of draft picks – two in each of the first three rounds – and plenty of options at wide receiver, but safety Tyrann Mathieu and cornerback Charvarius Ward must also be replaced just to get Kansas City back to where they started.

Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals are a year behind the Chiefs, beaten in the Super Bowl after leaving their quarterback horribly exposed. Joe Burrow faced 23 pressures against the Rams, tied for third-most since 2006.

Like the Chiefs, they quickly set about bolstering their O line in free agency, though there remains a pressing need at left guard. Ted Karras played there for the New England Patriots last year, but is set to move back into center after Trey Hopkins was cut.

That versatility at least gives the Bengals options at either position depending on how the draft plays out, with their first pick not until the end of the first round (31). In fact, given competition at cornerback, edge and/or tight end could also be sought, the Bengals may be flexible throughout.

Buffalo Bills

The Bills are the Super Bowl favourites, and with good reason. They were a coin flip away from beating the Chiefs and would have backed themselves against the Bengals, which might have quelled some of the optimism in Cincinnati channelled above. Buffalo have also added Super Bowl champion Miller to a defense that gave up a league-low 4.57 yards per play.

That's not to say there don't remain areas for improvement, with cornerback an obvious place to start. Tre'Davious White is returning from an ACL tear, and the Bills need a new man opposite him, given the loss of Levi Wallace.

The Bills might also be advised to ease the burden on all-action quarterback Josh Allen with the addition of a reliable running back. Allen ranked third among QBs for rushing yards in 2021 (763) but accounted for 34.5 per cent of his team's total – far and away the greatest share at his position.

Second on the list was former MVP Lamar Jackson (767 yards, 30.9 per cent), who's already showing signs of wear and tear having been tasked with running the Baltimore Ravens' offense.

Los Angeles Chargers

Outside the Packers, the Chargers perhaps have the most obvious positional need of any contender at right tackle – despite their own strong signings so far.

Left tackle Rashawn Slater was their first-round pick in 2021 and earned Pro Bowl recognition in his rookie season. Among offensive tackles with 200 or more pass protection snaps, Slater's stunt-adjusted win percentage of 90.5 ranked third. However, that stood in complete contrast to right tackle Storm Norton, whose 63.0 per cent ranked third-last.

Norton was brought in to play 15 games after a back injury put Bryan Bulaga on injured reserve. Bulaga has now been cut, and the Chargers surely cannot run it back with Norton.

The very best OTs in the draft are unlikely to still be available when the Chargers get to work in the middle of the first round, but it's no surprise to see them widely linked with Northern Iowa's Trevor Penning.

The Los Angeles Rams have signed former Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner on a five-year deal.

Wagner was released by the Seahawks earlier in March, fresh on the back of Russell Wilson's trade to the Denver Broncos, despite having a year to run on his contract.

The 31-year-old visited both the Baltimore Ravens and the Rams over the past week, and he has opted to stay in the NFC West with the reigning champions.

The Rams confirmed the news on their official website on Thursday, with reports suggesting the deal is worth an initial $50million, with a further $15m in incentives.

Wagner spent 10 seasons in NFL with the Seahawks and won the Super Bowl in 2013.

He played at an extremely high level for a struggling Seattle team in 2021, earning his eighth Pro Bowl selection and being named second-team All-Pro.

Since entering the NFL in 2012, only Lavonte David (867) has racked up more tackles than Wagner (817), who is third in pass breakups (60) and joint-fifth in interceptions (11).

A six-time first-team All-Pro, Wagner has recorded at least 104 total tackles in each of his 10 seasons so far.

Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay has suggested the team are close to agreeing a deal for Aaron Donald to return for the 2022 season.

The Super Bowl LVI champions had hoped Donald would do so after he hinted he would "run it back" during the victory parade following the win against the Cincinnati Bengals at the NFL's big show in February.

Ahead of the game at SoFi Stadium, it was reported the highly rated defensive tackle could retire if he finally won a championship to go with his individual achievements.

And the three-time Defensive Player of the Year could scarcely have been more influential in the 23-20 Rams win.

Donald held up Joe Burrow and the Bengals on third and one and then fourth and one on their final drive, finishing with two sacks and three quarterback hits – tying the best marks of his playoff career.

The 30-year-old penned a six-year, $135 million extension before the start of the 2018 season, but has now outplayed that deal.

Speaking at a media conference on Tuesday at the annual league meeting, McVay addressed Donald's situation, saying: "It's a huge priority for us. I know that our group is working with [Donald's agent] Todd France and trying to get that figured out.

"[I] feel really good about Aaron's excitement about coming back and continuing to lead the way for us. But that is a piece that we do want to be able to get figured out for him. And I think he's deserving of it.

"We're in the process of working through that right now."

Donald recorded 12.5 sacks for 111 yards and 17 quarterback hits in the 2021 regular season, before adding another 3.5 sacks for 20.5 yards and nine quarterback hits in the postseason.

Super Bowl-winning quarterback Matthew Stafford has indicated his long-term future is with the Los Angeles Rams stating it is where he wants to "put some roots down".

Stafford recently agreed to a four-year extension with the Super Bowl champions, with the deal worth $160million according to ESPN.

The 34-year-old QB spent 12 seasons with the Detroit Lions where he never won a postseason game before joining the Rams last year.

Stafford led the Rams to the Super Bowl LVI title over the Cincinnati Bengals, with the new deal reward for that, yet he said there was never any doubt for him.

"I just had so much fun playing for this team this year, playing for this organisation, this coaching staff, and I wanted to make sure I was able to do this for a long time," Stafford told reporters.

"I obviously wanted to say thanks to the Rams for giving me that opportunity. It was a lot of hard work getting to this point.

"I'm just happy where we are and to know what the future looks like for me and for our team. It's an exciting thing as a player to kind of know where you are going to be and be able to put some roots down and really go try to make something really special for a while.

"I was just trying to find something that felt good for both sides where we are able to continue to add players and pieces around me.''

Stafford completed 404 of 601 passes at a 67.2 completion rate for 41 touchdowns last season with 17 interceptions.

The Rams have bolstered their ranks with the addition of free agent wide receiver Allen Robinson II from the Chicago Bears.

"I'm eager to get out there and get to work with him and see what it's like throwing to him," Stafford said.

Robert Woods is set to move to the Tennessee Titans after the team agreed a trade with Super Bowl champions the Los Angeles Rams.

According to widespread reports, wide receiver Woods will join the Titans in exchange for a sixth-round draft pick in 2023.

The Titans were looking for a new complement for number one wide receiver A.J. Brown after releasing Julio Jones following his injury-hit season with the AFC South winners in 2021.

Woods, who spent five seasons with the Rams, also suffered injury frustration last season, tearing his ACL in November and missing the Super Bowl run.

Prior to that, though, Woods had been consistently productive for the Rams, most notably racking up 266 catches for 3,289 yards in remarkable three-year run from 2018 to 2020. 

The 29-year-old had a $3.5million roster bonus due on Sunday and the Rams recently made a big move at the receiver position.

They signed top free agent Allen Robinson to partner with All-Pro Cooper Kupp, who won the receiving triple crown as he topped the NFL for receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns last year.

Odell Beckham Jr. helped to fill the void left by Woods' injury towards the end of last season and the Rams are still reportedly keen to bring him back as well.

The Rams' situation gave the Titans, who won the AFC South last season and went into the playoffs as number one seeds in the conference, a window to strike a deal for Woods.

After a stunning regular season, the Titans promptly lost to the Cincinnati Bengals, who went on to face the Rams in the Super Bowl, in the Divisional Round when the postseason began.

Tennessee have made the playoffs in three straight seasons and hope Woods can help a roster that also contains quarterback Ryan Tannehill, star wideout Brown and running back Derrick Henry to make the next step.

Matthew Stafford has signed a four-year, $160million extension with the Los Angeles Rams as the Super Bowl champions aim to bolster their squad for a title defence.

Stafford, who played just three playoff games in 12 seasons with the Detroit Lions, ended his first year in LA by leading the Rams to a 23-20 Super Bowl LVI win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Representing a significant upgrade on predecessor Jared Goff – who headed to Detroit as part of a trade that also saw the Lions receive two first-round picks – Stafford threw for 4,886 yards and 41 touchdowns in the 2021 regular season.

The team improved from ranking 13th in passing offense in 2020 (250.9 yards per game) to fifth in 2021 (273.1 yards).

The one-time first overall draft pick added 1,188 yards and nine touchdown passes in the Rams' successful playoff run, including three scores in the defeat of the Bengals.

Stafford's existing contract had been set to expire following the 2022 season, but the new deal added to the end of that is set to keep the quarterback in LA through 2026.

The extension guarantees Stafford $135m, according to reports, and was crucially secured before his $10m roster bonus was due on Sunday.

This should allow cap space for the Rams to further improve their roster in free agency, with another title tilt on the cards as both coach Sean McVay and superstar defender Aaron Donald appear set to return despite claims to the contrary.

The Rams have already signed Allen Robinson and Stafford will again be able to look to Offensive Player of the Year Cooper Kupp in a fearsome offense.

After signing a six-year, $120million deal with the Buffalo Bills, future Hall-of-Fame edge rusher Von Miller said it was far from an easy decision.

Miller finished 2021 with 9.5 sacks for the Denver Broncos and the Los Angeles Rams, racking up five for Los Angeles in the final four games of the regular season.

His strong play down the stretch carried into the Rams' triumphant postseason, Miller registering a sack in the wins over the Arizona Cardinals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers before sacking Joe Burrow twice in their victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI.

He finished the season fifth among edge rushers with at least 100 one-on-one matchups with a stunt-adjusted pass rush win rate of 43.40, according to Stats Perform data.

When reflecting about his free agency, Miller said he was surprised with how difficult the decision was.

"I wasn't expecting it to be like that," Miller told reporters. "I was expecting you win the Super Bowl, you got your offers out here, where do you want to go, pick, go back to the Rams. But it was tough man, it came down to the very end.

"I feel like I let [the Rams] down – I feel like I'm breaking up with my girlfriend. That's just me and the way I go about my business. 

"But this was the one time in my life where I had to make a decision for me. I saw what makes Aaron Donald Aaron Donald, and it was hard to walk away from that.

"The only way you can walk away from that is to walk into something special. And what they're doing here is extremely special. 

"[The Bills are] gonna win a Super Bowl with or without me. They've built an amazing team."

Former Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson is joining reigning Super Bowl champions the Los Angeles Rams after agreeing to a three-year deal worth up to $46million.

The deal includes just over $30m in guaranteed money, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero.

Robinson, 28, has long been considered one of the NFL's most underappreciated receivers, finding ways to produce with very little help from mediocre quarterback play.

Robinson has only seen more than 70 pass attempts thrown his way by two quarterbacks in his career – Blake Bortles (372 attempts) and Mitch Trubisky (300 attempts).

Now he gets a chance to prove himself with Matthew Stafford under centre, where instead of being the primary focus of the defensive game plan, he will start opposite the league's most productive receiver and reigning Offensive Player of the Year, Cooper Kupp.

Two-time Super Bowl-winning edge rusher Von Miller has signed with the Buffalo Bills in a deal worth a maximum of $120million over six years.

According to reports, Miller is guaranteed $45m at signing, with the contract including $51.5m in total guarantees.

Miller, 33, was widely tipped to return to the Los Angeles Rams after joining the team in a mid-season trade and helping them win their first Super Bowl since returning from St Louis.

Instead, he signed what stands as the fifth-largest contract for a defensive player by total value.

Miller is a seven-time All-Pro, a Super Bowl MVP and a member of the NFL 2010s All-Decade Team.

He is coming off a season in which he reaffirmed his undoubted prowess as one of the league's premier edge rushers.

Miller finished 2021 with 9.5 sacks for the Denver Broncos and the Rams, racking up five for Los Angeles in the final four games of the regular season.

His strong play down the stretch carried into the Rams' triumphant postseason, Miller registering a sack in the wins over the Arizona Cardinals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers before sacking Joe Burrow twice in their victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI.

He finished the season fifth among edge rushers with at least 100 one on one matchups with a stunt-adjusted pass rush win rate of 43.40, according to Stats Perform data.

While Miller is still at the top of his game, the Bills also made a move to reinvigorate the career of a player on the offensive side of the ball, signing tight end O.J. Howard on a one-year deal.

A first-round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2017, Howard has played an extremely limited role in the Bucs' recent success, tallying just 25 catches in the last two seasons.

Having averaged 16.6 yards per reception across his first two seasons in the league, the Bills will hope they can help him recapture that explosive early form and provide yet more support for quarterback Josh Allen after their phenomenal offensive performance in a memorable overtime shootout loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.

Los Angeles Rams offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth is leaving the NFL as a champion. 

Whitworth announced Tuesday he is retiring after a 16-year pro career that culminated with a Super Bowl championship for the Rams over his only other NFL team. 

"My chapter may have closed on the field, but my story is unfinished. Can't wait for my next one," Whitworth wrote on Instagram. "Thank you to everyone who has been part of my journey." 

Whitworth turned 40 last December and made history as the oldest player to start at left tackle in the modern game. 

His career began in 2006, when he was drafted in the second round by the Cincinnati Bengals out of LSU after winning a national championship for the Tigers. He spent his first 11 seasons with the Bengals, earning three Pro Bowl selections and was named an All-Pro first-team pick in 2016. 

Whitworth signed with the Rams prior to the 2017 season and made 71 starts over the past five seasons, garnering All-Pro first-team accolades and another Pro Bowl nod during his first year with the franchise. 

Still considered one of the top left tackles in the game this past season, Whitworth was named the 2021 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year – an award given to a player for his excellence on and off the field.  

His final honour came in February, when his Rams defeated the Bengals 23-20 in the Super Bowl to win the Lombardi Trophy. 

After winning the championship, Whitworth had been expected to retire and go out on top. The Rams re-signed his backup, Joe Noteboom, on Monday to a three-year contract worth up to $47.5 million. 

Los Angeles Rams left tackle Andrew Whitworth has revealed he received a call from Wayne Gretzky after his Super Bowl LVI win as he considers retirement.

Whitworth has been in the NFL since 2006, when he was drafted in the second round by the Cincinnati Bengals.

But he had to wait until this year to finally get his hands on a Super Bowl ring, beating his former team the Bengals with the Rams.

It was widely expected Whitworth would call time on his career if the Rams won the title, yet one of sport's great names has given him food for thought.

Whitworth told NFL Total Access: "You definitely think about [winning a second Super Bowl], especially with Matthew Stafford coming back and Cooper Kupp and some of the special players – Aaron Donald being the biggest one, which we'll hopefully hear soon is going to be back.

"I've already seen him in the weight room working out, so I think that's a positive sign.

"It's a special group of guys, so you wouldn't want to miss that, that's for sure.

"I'll never forget after we won the game, the 'Great One', Wayne Gretzky, called me, because I live near him. He said, 'Hey Whit, there's only one thing better than winning one, and that's winning two'. I said I can't argue with you.

"It's going to be tough. One way or another, it's going to be a tough decision. There'd be a lot of great guys I'd be missing out on."

Aaron Donald appeared to hint at a 2022 return during the Los Angeles Rams' Super Bowl LVI victory parade on Wednesday.

Ahead of Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals at SoFi Stadium, it was suggested Donald could quit the NFL if he finally won a championship to go with his individual achievements.

And the three-time Defensive Player of the Year could scarcely have been more influential in a 23-20 Rams win.

Donald held up Joe Burrow and the Bengals on third and one and then fourth and one on their final drive, finishing with two sacks and three quarterback hits – tying the best marks of his playoff career.

The emotional defensive tackle refused to be drawn into comment on his future immediately after the game, instead saying he was "just going to live in the moment".

But Wednesday's parade provided a rather different setting, as head coach Sean McVay – whose 2022 status had also been the subject of speculation – chanted "run it back" before handing the microphone to Donald.

"We built a super team," Donald responded. "If we can bring the super team back, why not run it back? We could be world champs again!"

The Minnesota Vikings have confirmed Kevin O'Connell as their new head coach.

An announcement was delayed due to O'Connell's involvement in the Los Angeles Rams' postseason as their offensive coordinator, which ended with them winning Super Bowl LVI on Sunday.

O'Connell joined the Rams in 2020 from Washington and helped lead Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp and Odell Beckham Jr. to the championship this year.

Under the 36-year-old's guidance, the Rams offense finished ninth in the league, averaging 372.1 yards per game in 2021, while ranking second in plays of 50-plus yards (10), fourth in yards per play (5.98) and eighth in offensive touchdowns (51).

O'Connell also played a role in helping Kupp – who was named MVP for the Super Bowl – have a standout season, leading the NFL in receptions (145), receiving yards (1,947) and receiving touchdowns (16).

Vikings co-owner and president Mark Wilf was effusive in his praise for O'Connell after his appointment was confirmed, saying: "We are ecstatic to add Kevin as our head coach. He is a strong leader, an innovative coach and an excellent communicator.

"Kevin played the game at all levels, which gives him a unique connection to players, and he is highly respected throughout the league. Vikings fans should be excited for the future of this team under Kevin's direction."

Wilf's co-owner and brother Zygi, who is also the chairman, added: "Kevin is an impressive and respected leader who has been a part of some explosive offensive schemes. He has a tremendous football IQ and is passionate about preparing, developing and communicating with his players.

"Beyond the Xs and Os, everyone we spoke with throughout this search process spoke highly of Kevin's ability to motivate players, coaches and staff."

The Vikings also recently appointed a new general manager in Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, whose first job was hiring a new head coach, and he also gave his thoughts on O'Connell and why he was chosen.

"As I spent time with Kevin during the interview process, it became immediately clear he will be a great partner in building this football team for long-term success," Adofo-Mensah said.

"He understands what is critical to leading a team that wins at the highest level, and he has an ability to simplify the complex, which will help us in problem-solving in all football areas. He is a genuinely positive person who will help create a high-energy internal environment."

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