Vikings Hire New General Manager


Will Schiffler, Contributor

After back-to-back seasons, the Minnesota Vikings did not make the postseason with a roster capable of a Super Bowl run, and ownership of the Vikings fired Rick Spielman and Mike Zimmer. Long-time owners of the Vikings, the Wilfs, started to look for their new General Manager immediately after they let go Spielman after his ten years as GM.
On Tuesday, January 25, the Vikings announced that they found their guy to formulate the future of this franchise underneath salary cap troubles. The new General Manager of the Minnesota Vikings is 40-year-old Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. The Princeton graduate was the Assistant General Manager for the Cleveland Browns since 2020, where he worked aside Andrew Berry, where the two formulated a playoff-caliber roster in Cleveland. In 2020, Cleveland eliminated a playoff drought that lasted 18 consecutive seasons.

Kwesi had his first job in the NFL in 2013, in the 49ers organization working in research and development, which was just the beginning of becoming the General Manager of the Minnesota Vikings. Andrew Barry hired Kwesi in 2020 to be the Vice President of football operations for the Cleveland Browns. Two seasons later, Kwesi inked his deal to be the man in charge of the Minnesota Vikings, where he has many crucial decisions to make to move this football team in a championship direction.

The first item of Minnesota’s young General Manager will be to find the replacement of Mike Zimmer as head coach for the Vikings.

The Vikings are in their second round of interviews with Rams Offensive Coordinator Kevin O’Connell, Rams Defensive Coordinator Raheem Morris, Giants Defensive Coordinator Pat Graham, and Michigan Head Coach Jim Harbaugh. Jim Harbaugh is the name that many football fans are very familiar with who has been coaching at the University of Michigan since 2015. Jim does have NFL experience as a head coach, where he led the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl but came up short against his brother, John, who is the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens. Kwesi Adofo-Mensah worked with Jim in San Francisco and developed a great relationship. The hiring of Kwesi allowed Minnesota the opportunity to hire Jim Harbaugh potentially.
Harbaugh has been a tremendous asset to developing quarterbacks as he was a 14-year NFL quarterback before his coaching career. Harbaugh will reconstruct an offense to support Kirk Cousins and his support cast of Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson, and Adam Thielen. Jim will allow the Vikings to give Kirk another chance to prove himself as a top-tier quarterback capable of making a deep playoff run and bringing home Minnesota’s first Super Bowl.
The other exciting candidate for the job in Los Angeles Rams Offensive Coordinator Kevin O’Connell. 36-year-old O’Connell was also an NFL quarterback and has structured a dominating offense alongside Sean McVay. The Vikings offense has similar offensive weapons as the Rams, who have the opportunity to win the Super Bowl at home. O’Connell has a pass-heavy offense that has helped develop the emergence of MVP candidate Cooper Kupp. Vikings fans are ready for an offensive coach to come to take the reigns of this team while players like Justin Jefferson, Dalvin Cook, Adam Thielen, and Irv Smith Jr. are still in a Vikings uniform.
The Minnesota Vikings should be hiring their next head coach in the next week, and then it will be time for Kwesi Adofo-Mensah to make roster moves to bring a playoff-caliber team for the upcoming season. After hiring their new head coach, Adofo-Mensah will have to decide what he will do with Kirk Cousins and his $45- million salary-cap hit. Their options are to play out this season and be very restricted on free agency, which will result in cutting some key defensive players or Adam Thielen. The second option they have would be to reconstruct his contract and add a two or three-year extension, which will allow the Vikings to roster the majority of their players from last season. The third option they have, which seems unlikely, is to trade Cousins away and eat a big chunk of his contract, which will also have salary cap implications. It will be very difficult for Minnesota to make an effective playoff run when their quarterback accumulates over 20 percent of the team’s salary cap. The Super Bowl matchup between the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams has two quarterbacks that do not even make the amount Cousins will in 2022. Matthew Stafford’s cap hit in 2021 was $20 million, and Joe Burrow has a cap hit of just under $10 million. Before next season, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has many difficult decisions to put together a successful playoff team.