EAGAN, Minn. — Vikings Head Coach Kevin O'Connell is building a strong support system around him.
O'Connell, whose hire by Minnesota was officially announced Wednesday, has added Mike Pettine as the team's assistant head coach.
Pettine, 55, is well-familiar with the NFC North division. After serving as the Packers defensive coordinator from 2018-20, last season he worked with the Bears as a senior defensive assistant. During his time in Green Bay, Pettine improved the Packers scoring defense from the NFL's 26th-ranked unit in 2017 to 22nd in 2018 and 9th in 2019. The 2020 squad ranked 13th.
Pettine has 18 years of NFL coaching experience under his belt (and worked in 2017 as a consultant for Seattle).
View photos of new Vikings Assistant Head Coach Mike Pettine in photos from his time with the Packers and Browns.
Here are five things to know about Minnesota's new assistant head coach.
1. Coached with O'Connell before
This isn't the first time O'Connell and Pettine have worked together.
In fact, O'Connell has overlapped with Pettine as both a player and a coach.
The most recent overlap occurred when O'Connell worked as Cleveland's quarterbacks coach in 2015, Pettine's second of two years as the Browns head coach. The two worked that season with quarterbacks Josh McCown, Johnny Manziel and Austin Davis.
Pettine's overall record in Cleveland was 10-22.
If you want to go a little deeper into the O'Connell-Pettine connection, O'Connell and Packers Head Coach Matt LaFleur coached together in Washington before LaFleur took the helm in Green Bay in 2019 and retained Pettine on staff.
2. Like father, like son
Football runs in the Pettine family.
His father, the late Mike Pettine, Sr., remains highly regarded in Pennsylvania for compiling a record of 326-42-4 – and winning four state championships – in 33 seasons as head coach at Central Bucks High School West.
Pettine played quarterback and defensive back at Central Bucks West before transitioning solely to free safety at the University of Virginia.
Before starting in the NFL as a coaching assistant with the Ravens in 2002, Pettine also coached high school football, spending 1988-92 as an assistant at Central Bucks West, 1995-96 at William Tennent and 1997-2001 at North Penn. He was a graduate assistant at Pittsburgh from 1993-94.
Pettine's father passed away suddenly in February 2017.
"He was real big on 'Don't tell somebody great job if it wasn't a great job. Let's not call good great. Let's not accept mediocrity,' " Pettine said of advice he gleaned from his father.
3. Took a 2-year 'sabbatical'
After Pettine was relieved of his duties in Cleveland in January 2016, he intentionally spent five months away from the game entirely. And he took two years off from coaching before being hired as the Packers defensive coordinator in 2018.
Pettine reevaluated during the "sabbatical" of sorts and "took an assortment of odd jobs" during the 2016 season. He watched film for Rex Ryan, in his final season with the Bills, and in 2017 Pettine worked remotely as a consultant for the Seahawks.
4. Sense of humor
Pettine has developed a reputation throughout the league as being somewhat of a "tough guy," but the coach also has a sense of humor.
One example of Pettine's affinity for comedy was captured in a 2018 Green Bay Press Gazette article, where reporter Ryan Wood noted that Pettine named his dog, Cal, after Callahan Auto Parts in the Chris Farley/David Spade flick, Tommy Boy.
5. Father of 6
Pettine and his wife, Megan, together have six children in their blended family: daughters Megan, Katie, Paige and McKenna; and sons Ryan and Max.