The Minnesota Vikings introduced their new General Manager on Thursday.
Kwesi Adofo-Mensah comes to the Vikings and enters his 10th season in the NFL having been the Cleveland Browns vice president of football operations for the past two seasons. Prior to that, Adofo-Mensah worked with the San Francisco 49ers as the team’s manager and director of football research and development.
The 40-year-old Cherry Hill, New Jersey native isn’t all football though. Adofo-Mensah graduated from Princeton University with a bachelor’s degree in economics, later getting a master’s degree from Stanford. He also worked on Wall Street.
“From the moment I jumped on the interview, it was just an immediate fit,” Adofo Mensah said at Thursday’s introductory press conference. “It just felt right.”
Vikings owner and President Mark Wilf says Adofo-Mensah stood out right away.
“Kwesi has a strong leadership presence, a unique background and a variety of strong football experiences which we believe are significant strengths as he assumes this role,” explains Wilf. “He immediately stood out to us in his interviews because of his vision for long term success and his comprehensive information gathering, and intentional decision-making processes.”
Adofo-Mensah and the Vikings must now figure out who will be the new head coach after Mike Zimmer was fired at the end of the season. The search looks to be a collaborative process that includes player input.
“That’s the first thing I’m going to do is talk to the leadership council and see what they have to say,” Adofo-Mensah said. “Again, I’m a consensus builder. I love information so nothing they say is going to shock me or be anything negative. I’m going to take it into consideration. We have general thoughts on what we want, but hearing from players is not going to hurt that and I’m looking forward to having that dialogue with them.”
However, Adofo-Mensah says they know exactly what they want from a new head coach.
“We want leadership,” Adofo-Mensah said. “We want somebody who’s going to value the collective over the individual. We want somebody who’s got vision, who can communicate, who’s got a solid football foundation, who understands how football’s connected and what that means. So that’s been our focus in the last few days.”
Former Viking GM and team President Jeff Diamond, speaking with WCCO Radio’s Mike Max Wednesday, says he believes they have already identified head coach targets and have a good idea who they want to hire.
“I think certainly they have a good idea what they want to do and whether they want to have a second interview with the new GM and a coaching candidate,” says Diamond. “I’m sure they have a couple finalists in mind.”
Diamond says the elephant in the room is still Kirk Cousins who is under contract for 2022, but comes with a very high salary cap number of $45 million. Diamond says the team does have options with Cousins because he still has value if they decide to trade him.
“I felt they would try to get one more year out of Cousins and maybe draft a quarterback in the first or second round this year,” Diamond said. “Then groom that player and maybe have them compete with Kellen Mond for that spot in the future. But who knows how they approach it because Kirk Cousins is still a pretty good player. We know what he is, he’s not Patrick Mahomes and he’s not Josh Allen. If they do decide to trade him he still has value and some teams will be interested.”