The Minnesota Vikings are closing in on a general manager hire. Their top two candidates were believed to be Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Ryan Poles, and Poles is no longer an option. The Chicago Bears offered him their GM job Tuesday. So that means Adofo-Mensah is in the driver’s seat to take over for Rick Spielman in Minnesota.
Update 01/26/22: ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that the Vikings have hired Kwesi Adofo-Mensah as their new general manager.
Update 2 01/26/22: The Vikings made the Adofo-Mensah hire official late Wednesday.
“We are thrilled to welcome Kwesi to the Minnesota Vikings. His unique background, variety of strong football experiences, vision for success and leadership presence immediately stood out to us,” Vikings owner and president Mark Wilf said in a statement. “Kwesi is naturally committed and driven to building the best teams through consensus building and the pursuit of information. We believe he will immediately make us better as a team and organization.”
“Kwesi has a clear philosophy on building a complementary football team,” Vikings owner and chairman Zygi Wilf said. “His intelligence, progressive mindset and passion for the game, along with his ability to make thoughtful and intentional decisions, provide a tremendous foundation as he leads our football operations.”
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Get to know NFL general manager candidate Kwesi Adofo-Mensah
Adofo-Mensah, 40, was already set for a second interview with the Minnesota Vikings Tuesday before the Poles news broke. We doubt the Vikings will let him leave the building if it goes well.
The other known candidates for the Vikings job were Eagles director of player personnel Brandon Brown, Browns vice president of player personnel Glenn Cook, Titans director of player personnel Monti Ossenfort, Eagles vice president of football operations Catherine Raîche, Buccaneers vice president of player personnel John Spytek, and Patriots consultant Eliot Wolf.
Adofo-Mensah’s football background
This is a meteoric rise. A decade ago, Adofo-Mensah was in finance. He worked as an associate portfolio manager at Taylor Woods Capital and was vice president/executive director at Credit Suisse as a commodities trader prior to joining the NFL in 2013. He’s as smart as they come. He owns a bachelor’s degree in economics from Princeton and a master’s degree in economics from Stanford.
Armed with that deep understanding of market forces, Adofo-Mensah left finance in 2013 for the NFL. He got his start in the league as the San Francisco 49ers’ manager of football research and development. Four years later, he was running the department. Along the way, he caught the eye of Browns GM Andrew Berry, who made Adofo-Mensah one of his first hires when he took the Cleveland job in 2020. For the last two years, Adofo-Mensah has served as the Browns’ vice president of football operations.
How Adofo-Mensah performed in 2021
Perhaps the smartest thing Berry and Adofo-Mensah have done since taking over is slow-playing a Baker Mayfield contract extension. When the Bills gave Josh Allen the second-richest contract in NFL history prior to the 2021 season, many thought Mayfield was next.
But the Browns were wary of paying a top-of-the-market wage to a good-but-not-great player. Mayfield went on to have a terrible 2021 (thanks in large part to significant injuries), and now the Browns owe him just $18.9 million next year. Then, they can walk away if his performance doesn’t improve. Quarterback aside, the Browns have one of the most talented rosters in football and were much better than their 8-9 record.
What they’re saying about Adofo-Mensah
“I will tell you that I am incredibly excited and proud of both Kwesi and Glenn for having the opportunity to interview for one of the 31 other franchises. Of course, we will always grant requests. Again, in fairness, not that it is our choice to deny it, but regardless, we are thrilled when we have people from our organization who have the chance to interview for one of these opportunities. I know those guys will represent themselves well. Any owner who is looking to hire a general manager, those guys will do a phenomenal job. I am just glad they are interviewing for an NFC team so that I can root for them if they get it.” — Browns general manager Andrew Berry on Kwesi Adofo-Mensah