Getting to Know Minnesota’s Eight GM Candidates

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MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA – OCTOBER 18: The Minnesota Vikings offense lines up against the Atlanta Falcons defense during the game at U.S. Bank Stadium on October 18, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Fans will be relieved to learn that news is trickling in about Minnesota’s GM candidates. Currently, it’s public knowledge that the Vikings have put in interview requests for eight people. Nailing this hire is the most important thing the Vikings will do this offseason. The GM gets a lot of autonomy in this organization, so bringing in someone who is supremely competent is of the utmost importance.

As a result, I’m offering up a piece to allow readers to get their feet underneath them with these candidates. By no means should you consider this as being exhaustive. Rather, think of it as mere brief snippets covering their background.

Candidate #1: Eliot Wolf, Patriots

Vikings fans may recognize his name from his time in Green Bay. Currently, he is working as a scouting consultant for the Patriots. He was also in Cleveland as assistant GM. Partner this background with his last name (his father, Ron Wolf, was a long-time NFL exec) and it’s easy to see why he is getting some attention: “The son of Hall of Famer Ron Wolf, Eliot joined the Packers as a pro personnel assistant in 2004 and worked his way up to director of football operations before leaving for the Browns job. He’s received several interviews to become a G.M. before, though Brian Gutekunst was named Packers G.M. to succeed Ted Thompson in 2018.”

Candidate #2: Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, Browns

Here is what a recent piece on The Athletic had to say: “Adofo-Mensah succeeded Eliot Wolf in Cleveland after seven seasons with 49ers, including as director of football research and development. He played basketball at Princeton and worked on Wall Street before joining the 49ers in 2013. Interviewed for Carolina’s GM job in 2021.” The impression one gets is that Adofo-Mensah is highly intelligent (I mean, Mensah is in his last name!). He brings along a more diverse professional background to the table than most NFL executives. He is currently Cleveland’s vice president of football operations.

Candidate #3: Glenn Cook, Browns

Apparently, Cook is quite the athlete. He was drafted by the Chicago Cubs and played linebacker in college. He has an interesting background in the NFL: “Previously in the Packers organization, Cook joined the Browns in 2016. Cook started in the scouting department and rose to the level of assistant pro scouting director, before climbing to his current post in 2020. The Browns were not exactly a sought-after organization for executive talent when Cook arrived, but they have seen multiple execs receive interview requests during this cycle.”

Candidate #4: John Spytek, Buccaneers

Anytime a franchise has great success, their executives will get interviews. Spytek is an interesting option: “Spytek is in his sixth season with Tampa Bay and his 18th in the NFL. Prior to joining the Bucs, Spytek spent three seasons with Denver, where he worked as the Southwest area scout in 2013 before being elevated to national scout, a position he held for two years (2014-15). He spent three seasons (2010-12) as Cleveland’s director of college scouting. Spytek is in charge of the Bucs’ college and pro scouting departments, handles the preparation for free agency and works with general manager Jason Licht regarding the draft.” Obviously, a scouting background can really help. One thing that is also fascinating is the “preparation for free agency.” Surely, some of that involves scouting players to fill areas of need, but it may also involve some financial matters (an area where we need work).

Candidate #5: Brandon Brown, Eagles

He is the director of player personnel in Philadelphia. He has a background in law as well as some experience working for college programs. In the NFL, Brown has done work for the Jets, Colts, and Eagles: “Brandon Brown enters his fifth season with the Philadelphia Eagles and seventh overall in the NFL. He was promoted to director of player personnel during the 2021 offseason. In his new role, Brown oversees the Eagles’ pro scouting department while also doing crossover work on the college scouting side in collaboration with co-director of player personnel Ian Cunningham.” Some fans may hate to admit it, but the Eagles do have a strong organization. Keep an eye on Brown.

Candidate #6: Catherine Raîche, Eagles

As I previously mentioned with Brian Daboll, I’m always intrigued when someone has a connection to the CFL. I don’t enjoy CFL football, but it’s the connection to my country that I find interesting. Don’t let the drivel I put on here fool you: there are a handful of a sophisticated football minds up here. Raîche would be make history if she lands the job: “If hired, Raîche would follow in the footsteps of Susan Tose Spencer, who became the first and only female GM in NFL history when she was hired as the Eagles general manager in 1983. She was Philadelphia’s GM from 1983 to 85 after being promoted by her father, owner Leonard Tose.” She is currently Philadelphia’s vice president of football operations. Before that, she worked with Toronto and Montreal in the CFL.

Candidate #7: Monti Ossenfort, Titans

Take a look at what Ben Goessling had to say: “a Luverne native who’d played quarterback at the University of Minnesota, Morris and worked as a Vikings training camp intern in 2001. He went from there to work with the Texans in 2002 (the team’s first season) and was part of five Patriots Super Bowl championships in his 17 seasons with the team. He’s spent the past two seasons with the Titans, who have the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs, and had already interviewed for the Giants’ general manager job.” I’m always a little bit skeptical of former Patriots employees, but the Titans success is important.

Candidate #8: Ryan Poles, Chiefs

The folks at Daily Norseman provided a succinct breakdown: “Poles has been with the Chiefs’ organization since 2009, and despite all of those years of experience is still just 36 years old. Our friends over at Arrowhead Pride inform us that he started out as a scouting assistant, and has since ascended to the roles of College Scouting Coordinator (for six years), Director of College Scouting (two years), and Assistant Director of Player Personnel (three years) before assuming his current role in the Kansas City front office.” He is currently the executive director of player personnel. The fact that he’s so young and in such a prominent position suggests he’s remarkably brilliant.