The Vikings Roster Tug of War Between Rick Spielman & Kwesi Adofo-Mensah

NFL: Minnesota Vikings-Minicamp
Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

Very quietly, the Vikings roster has been flipping over.

For a long time, Rick Spielman was the architect. He was employed in Minnesota between 2006-21, a 15-year span that underscores his importance to recent Vikings history. On January 26, 2022, the Vikings opted to sign Kwesi Adofo-Mensah as Spielman’s replacement. A young executive with a forward-looking approach, Adofo-Mensah has been hard at work reshaping the team.

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Jul 27, 2022; Eagan, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings general Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

The tug-of-war piece is a continuation of some of my previous offseason work for PurplePTSD. First, there was the complete Kwesi Adofo-Mensah trade tracker. Second, there was the Vikings’ draft pick outlook for the next three years.

Next up is a humble attempt to further guide reader understandings about where this franchise finds itself. Similar to the previous pair of articles, the GM-to-GM piece is meant to be a resource I can return to with updates as we learn more in the comings weeks, months, and years.

Essentially, all I’m doing is putting Minnesota’s players into three categories. The first part simply highlights the true carryovers, the players brought in by Spielman who haven’t had their deals adjusted but are still on the Vikings roster. The second part considers players brought in by Slick Rick before having their deals redone by Kwesi & Friends (restructure, extension, etc.). Finally, there is the third and final portion: the players whom Kwesi Adofo-Mensah brought aboard all on his own. As you’ll see, there’s no Spielman influence on the majority of the team’s offseason roster.

Jun 15, 2021; in Eagen, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman looks on during drills at OTA at TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

Somewhat stunningly, the only position to have completely erased the former regime is corner. Just think back to how much emphasis there was on constantly acquiring corners while Mike Zimmer partnered with Spielman. In just 439 days as GM, Adofo-Mensah completely redid the position. The only other position without some Spielman influence is punter. Last season, UDFA Ryan Wright took over the job (for the most part, performing admirably).

Keep in mind that the 53-man roster will get things closer to balanced between Spielman and Adofo-Mensah. Much of the GM-to-GM discrepancy stems from all of the UDFAs and veteran depth signings that have occurred recently. In a lot of instances, being a Spielman addition doesn’t matter for the final cuts. Someone like Justin Jefferson has a far higher chance of sticking around than someone like Malik Knowles (and that’s no insult to Knowles). As a result, the 90-man roster offers a more pronounced difference than what the 53-man roster will.

Once again, I’ll note my human frailty, failings, and foibles. Errors could very plausibly be hidden in some of the smalls details. If you spot something that needs fixing, let me know on Twitter (@VikingsGazette).

Oh, and a shout out to Over the Cap for helping to confirm my memory and/or undercut the errors for a couple of the players. Readers looking for more info on the overall roster can take a peak at the PurplePTSD Vikings depth chart or hop over to the Vikings roster on the team website.

The Vikings Roster: GM to GM

Spielman’s Men

  1. Brandel, Blake – Offensive Tackle
  2. Bynum, Camryn – Safety
  3. Cleveland, Ezra – Guard
  4. Darrisaw, Christian – Offensive Tackle
  5. Dye, Troy – Linebacker
  6. Jefferson, Justin – Wide Receiver (5th-Year Option Picked Up)
  7. Jones, Patrick – Edge Rusher
  8. Lynch, James – Defensive Tackle
  9. Nwangwu, Kene – Running Back/Kirk Returner
  10. O’Neill, Brian – Offensive Tackle
  11. Osborn, K.J. – Wide Receiver
  12. Wonnum, D.J. – Edge Rusher

Shared Players

  1. Bradbury, Garrett – Center
  2. Cousins, Kirk – Quarterback
  3. DePaola, Andrew – Long Snapper
  4. Ham, C.J. – Fullback
  5. Hunter, Danielle – Edge Rusher
  6. Joseph, Greg – Kicker
  7. Mattison, Alexander – Running Back
  8. Metellus, Josh – Safety
  9. Smith, Harrison – Safety
  10. Udoh, Oli – Offensive Tackle

Adofo-Mensah’s Men

  1. Addison, Jordan – Wide Receiver
  2. Aho, Junior – Edge Rusher
  3. Akers, Cam – Running Back
  4. Asamoah, Brian – Linebacker
  5. Blackmon, Mekhi – Corner
  6. Booth Jr., Andrew – Corner
  7. Bullard, Jonathan – Defensive Tackle
  8. Carter II, Andre – Edge Rusher
  9. Chandler, Ty – Running Back
  10. Cine, Lewis – Safety
  11. Davenport, Marcus – Edge Rusher
  12. Hall, Jaren – Quarterback
  13. Hicks, Jordan – Linebacker
  14. Hockenson, T.J. – Tight End
  15. Ingram, Ed – Guard
  16. Jackson, Theo – Safety
  17. Lowry, Dean – Defensive End
  18. Mullens, Nick – Quarterback
  19. Mundt, Johnny – Tight End
  20. Murphy Jr., Byron – Corner
  21. Muse, Nick – Tight End
  22. Nailor, Jalen – Wide Receiver
  23. Oliver, Josh – Tight End
  24. Pace Jr., Ivan – Linebacker
  25. Phillips, Harrison – Defensive Tackle
  26. Powell, Brandon – Wide Receiver/Punt Returner
  27. Quessenberry, David – Offensive Tackle
  28. Reed, Chris – Interior Offensive Lineman
  29. Risner, Dalton – Interior Offensive Lineman
  30. Roy, Jaquelin – Defensive Tackle
  31. Schlottmann, Austin – Center
  32. Thompson, NaJee – Corner
  33. Tonga, Khyiris – Defensive Tackle
  34. Ward, Jay – Defensive Back
  35. Wright, Ryan – Punter

Editor’s Note: Last updated on Wednesday, September 27th, 2023.