Why Kwesi Adofo-Mensah – A Trade Machine – May Consider Calling the Texans

Oct 4, 2020; Houston, Texas, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (19) reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Houston Texans during the third quarter at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a new day in Houston, Texas. Their football team is far from contention and yet they’ve made a great decision: hiring DeMeco Ryans, who was the architect of San Francisco’s ferocious defense. What does that decision have to do with Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and the Vikings?

Well, the two teams could be dance partners as the offseason gets rolling.

Jan 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah looks on before a wild card game between the Minnesota Vikings and the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

The Texans aren’t going anywhere fast. True, Ryans has a great shot at turning this team around, but it’s going to take time. There is a pretty serious talent deficiency and their QB position is unsettled.

One wonders, then, if the two teams could be natural trade partners. On the on hand, we have the Vikings, a team that is looking to recreate their 13-4 record while taking the next step in the playoffs (i.e. actually win). On the other hand, we have the Texans and their boatload of players playing on short-term deals.

Consider, for instance, Jerry Hughes. The 34-year-old pass rusher is coming off a season where he accumulated 9 sacks to partner with his interception, 2 forced fumbles, and 10 TFLs. If he’s cut, Minnesota should consider adding him to their pass rush rotation. Remember: the goal isn’t youth but, rather, to collect impact players. If Hughes can help the team win, then forget his age.

Oct 31, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Miami Dolphins guard Jesse Davis (77) looks to block Buffalo Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes (55) in the second quarter at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

We may also consider Desmond King II, a slot corner who is coming off another strong year. At 28, he’s likely to have some strong football left in him, and the position he plays – slot corner – is a major need in Minnesota. He finished the year as the 22nd-ranked corner on PFF; he played 334 snaps in the slot and 505 out wide, demonstrating a versatility that DCs love. He’s perhaps the main trade candidate.

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah might be hesitant to give up assets to acquire players from Houston. After all, why trade a pick to get someone who could be a free agent in the near future? It’s an important consideration. The merits of a trade simply rest in being able to inherit a contract that may be desirable as well as being able to fend off the competition that can accompany free agent flirtations.

Jan 8, 2023; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Houston Texans linebacker Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (45) pressures Indianapolis Colts quarterback Sam Ehlinger (4) in the pocket Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, during a game against the Houston Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Scheer-USA TODAY Sports

Not too long ago, we wrote about Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, a still-young edge rusher who has connections with Minnesota’s coaching staff. He’s a FA EDGE who could plausibly be a nice addition insofar as he can be disruptive on third downs, especially if he’s lining up alongside Danielle Hunter and/or Za’Darius Smith. Last season, Okoronkwo had 5 sacks for the Texans.

During the regular season, there was even some chatter about adding Brandin Cooks. The veteran receiver has been all over the NFL. A first-round pick in 2014, Cooks has played for New Orleans, New England, Los Angeles (Rams), and Houston. He has speed, making him an intriguing fit insofar as he could help clear room underneath for Justin Jefferson and T.J. Hockenson.

In 2022, Cooks had 57 catches for 699 yards and 3 TDs. Don’t forget the context: the QB position in Houston wasn’t elite. The only way he could end up in a purple uniform is if the Texans cut him, thus allowing Minnesota to negotiate a deal with a considerably smaller cap hit.

Oct 23, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Houston Texans wide receiver Brandin Cooks (13) is pursued by Las Vegas Raiders cornerback Rock Ya-Sin (26) in the first half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Houston – not altogether unlike Indianapolis – is venturing into an offseason with a new skipper at the helm. Meanwhile, Minnesota is looking to reload for another trip into the postseason. In order to do so, the Vikings will need to bring in talent to help revamp the roster, especially on defense.

Expect the Vikings to be active in free agency and to possibly pull off a trade or two. A team like the Texans is one worth monitoring.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference, PFF, and Over the Cap helped with this piece.