In an off-season that has already been flooded with decision-making in having to fill some key roles throughout the organization, the Minnesota Vikings kicked off that process this week with the hiring of a new general manager to lead the front office. On Wednesday, the Vikings officially announced they hired Kwesi Adofo-Mensah to take over as general manager, with the 40-year-old now transitioning from the Cleveland Browns to Minnesota.
Implications of General Manager Hiring on Rest of Minnesota Vikings Off-Season
With the biggest step now complete, the rest of the dominos this off-season will likely follow in the coming weeks, mainly the hiring of a head coach and any potential changes to the roster. With Adofo-Mensah now leading the Vikings front office, here is what that might mean for the rest of the off-season in Minnesota.
Hiring of a Head Coach
The first order of business for Adofo-Mensah and the Vikings will be to search for and ultimately hire a new head coach to replace Mike Zimmer after his firing at the end of the 2021 regular season.
Minnesota has interviewed over a handful of head coaching candidates already this off-season, but Adofo-Mensah might have a specific candidate in mind to take over as head coach and it appears the search will begin immediately. Adofo-Mensah does have ties to a few candidates who are either already interviewing for head coaching vacancies or who might be as a result of his general manager appointment.
Adofo-Mensah on coaching search: “We want leadership. We want somebody who’s going to value the collective over the individual.” Said #Vikings will meet later today to talk more about coaching candidates.
— Ben Goessling (@BenGoessling) January 27, 2022
With his history with the San Francisco 49ers and Browns, Adofo-Mensah is familiar with some interesting head coaching candidates. Notably, some names include San Francisco defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans (worked together with the 49ers from 2017-19), Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell (worked together with the 49ers in 2016), San Francisco offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel (worked together with the 49ers in 2017-19), former NFL coach and current Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh (worked together with the 49ers in 2013-14), and Cleveland defensive coordinator Joe Woods (worked together with the Browns in 2019-21).
Ryans and O’Connell have already both been interviewed by the Vikings, meaning the team is already familiar with both individuals. The other names with ties to Adofo-Mensah could also be solid candidates, but Minnesota has yet to bring them in for interviews.
Knowing Adofo-Mensah and his history, that could be a hint as to who he might prefer or lean towards appointing as the new Vikings head coach. With Ryans being a name that has come up more and more, that might be a name worth watching moving forward.
Outside of deciding on a head coach, Adofo-Mensah and the rest of his staff will also begin the process of making roster decisions on both sides of the ball this off-season. They mainly need to figure out if players who are set to make larger contracts are worth investing in for the 2022 season or if the Vikings should part ways ahead of the new year.
Minnesota has some veteran players getting up there in age and the organization may want to find cheaper options, notably the likes of wide receiver Adam Thielen, linebacker Anthony Barr, cornerback Patrick Peterson, and defensive end Danielle Hunter, among others.
Another player who could potentially be on the way out via a trade is veteran quarterback Kirk Cousins, who is set to make $45 million in 2022. Minnesota would obviously have to find a trade partner for Cousins, and that would not be an easy task given the large salary he is owed. But perhaps Adofo-Mensah would tap into his contacts in Cleveland and agree to a deal with his former organization to swap Cousins and Baker Mayfield this off-season.
The first objective for Adofo-Mensah will be to appoint a new head coach and to see which players that coach would like to keep moving forward. Once a coaching decision has been made, some additional moves will probably be made by the Vikings before the 2022 season officially kicks off.