The Minnesota Vikings appointed the new general manager Kwesi Adofo Mensah on Wednesday, and the deal is getting good reviews – especially from people who know Adofo-Mensah.
The new purple and golden boss was raised in the San Francisco 49ers tree of leadership – a gang that has made two Super Bowl appearances in the last 10 years – and a main member of the 49ers has all been decided in on the Vikings.
This is hard-hitting safety-turned-GM John Lynch. The 49ers general manager worked with Adofo-Mensah for a few seasons in San Francisco, and Lynch was apparently incredibly impressed. Lynch said this about the Vikings rent:
Lynch is widely respected and deserves the Manager of the Year award in 2019 from Pro Football Writers of America. And according to the statement above, Adofo-Mensah was not too excited to see the young CEO go to Cleveland.
Adofo-Mensah is a Princeton-trained, guru-type who started his NFL executive career with 49ers in 2013, with the title of Soccer Research and Development Manager. After five seasons in that performance, Adofo-Mensah graduated as director of football research and development in San Francisco for three years. Most recently, Adofo-Mensah served as vice president of football operations for the Browns.
Now Adofo-Mensah is tackling the big task for the Vikings – a team with the fifth best winning percentage in the Super Bowl era, but no Super Bowl championship to show for it. In fact, of the Top 16 teams per winning percentage since 1966, the Vikings are the only franchise without a Super Bowl trophy.
And this is what Adofo-Mensah absolutely must fix.
Talented rosters followed the 40-year-old Adofo-Mensah with the 49ers and Browns, and conventional logic suggests he had something to do with it. The Browns have been the NFL comedy show for two decades. But during Adofo-Mensah’s tenure, Cleveland built one of the best rosters in football. With John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco, the same reputation exists. In both places, the leadership regimes are cultivating solid pass-defense offensive lines – which the Vikings desperately crave.
Minnesota now has youth, diversity, and an embrace of analysis (research and development, as Adofo-Mensah calls it) in its kitchen cupboard. For the most part, those traits did not exist in the front office three weeks ago.
Adofo-Mensah’s first task – and this is a huge task – is to select a head coach. According to most theories, the race is due to Raheem Morris (Rams), Kevin O’Connell (Rams), DeMeco Ryans (49ers) and Mike McDaniel (49ers). Although, O’Connell and McDaniel were not formally questioned by Minnesota.
Maybe Adofo-Mensah will strip more of Lynch’s guys. If he’s as brilliant as Lynch says, that might be a good idea.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. present a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, who performs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos’ and The Doors (the group).