Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, Vikings Have an Eye on Packers as They Pursue 2022 Contention

Nov 1, 2020; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) celebrates with offensive tackle Ezra Cleveland (72) after scoring a touchdown in the third quarter during the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier today, Vikings GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah met with the media to discuss the beginning of training camp. Free agency brought new talent, the draft brought a little more, and the offseason workouts helped to form the team. Now, perhaps the most intense portion of the offseason begins. Minnesota has officially started the process that is to prepare them for their Week 1 matchup with the division-rival Packers.

According to the GM, the Packers had an impact on Minnesota’s approach to the offseason. Green Bay has won the division for three straight seasons. Until Aaron Rodgers retires – and that defense gets less formidable – the Packers will likely be the favorites for the NFC North crown.

Minnesota isn’t just handing over the division, though. Instead, they’re intentionally putting themselves in a position to challenge for the top spot. That goal hasn’t undermined the belief that Minnesota still needs to be wise in how they approach things.

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah is asked about his “competitive rebuild” and then the impact of the Packers. He notes that “the first path to getting in that dance is winning your division.” He notes that Green Bay’s presence in the division is “one of a lot of factors we consider.” “The best thing you can do,” Adofo-Mensah notes, “is build the best team you can for the foreseeable future.” According to the GM, building that best team is the “focus.”

Shortly thereafter, Adofo-Mensah clarified that his approach has been to avoid pushing all his chips into the middle of the table (his metaphor). His rationale is that football comes with a lot of “variance,” so he wants to ensure he’s not only giving his Vikings a chance in 2022 but for several years to come.

He’s exactly right that the simplest way to get into the playoffs is to win the division. Doing so ensures both a playoff spot and at least one game at home (but hopefully more). To snag the North, Minnesota will need to overcome the Packers, a task that is easier said than done. They’ve been stubbornly strong since Matt LaFleur took over as head coach. Losing Davante Adams will likely make things challenging at times, though we’d be foolish to assume the Vikings can climb to the top unencumbered by their Wisconsin rivals.

Don’t forget, though, that the goal is to achieve success beyond just this season.

Something we’ve discussed before is that Minnesota has tremendous financial flexibility in 2024 (Over the Cap provides some helpful info for this topic). At that time, a lot of the contracts will either be done and/or there will be a scarcity of guaranteed money. The team can thus decide to continue on its current trajectory or head in a new direction. Part of the decision will include looking around at the division and Minnesota’s ability to keep competing.

In 2022, the Vikings will try to dethrone the Packers, a desire that has motivated at least some of the decision making from Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. However, that desire hasn’t stopped them from trying to maintain some flexibility as they move forward.