Vikings GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah Speaks at the 2023 NFL Combine
As the 2023 NFL combine gets underway this week, Vikings GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah stepped up to the podium in Indianapolis to answer media questions for the first time since Minnesota’s post-season press conference. Here are some of the main topics that he hit on during his time at the podium. You can also check out the full video linked below:
Adofo-Mensah began his time by speaking on former San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator, DeMeco Ryans. The former DC was recently hired as the head coach of the Houston Texans after helping lead the Niners to the NFC Championship Game in 2022.
Adofo-Mensah called Ryans a “special human”, and emphasized that there was always going to be a head coaching role for him at the NFL level. The two spent time together in San Francisco from 2017-19.
The Vikings GM certainly hasn’t been afraid to swing trades within his own division. The Vikings conducted a pair of in-division trades during the 2022 NFL Draft, and they also made a huge move mid-season to acquire TE T.J. Hockenson from the Detroit Lions. Adofo-Mensah shared some thoughts on his thought process behind these types of in-division trades:
“The first path to making the playoffs is by winning your division, so you never want to make your division stronger, but ultimately, the best path towards making the playoffs is by putting the best team on the field, so that’s where that starts,” Adofo-Mensah explained.
He concluded by saying, “When you make these decisions, you run the risk of being second-guessed…I know I’m going to get second-guessed for a lot of things I do, and ultimately, I have to be able to sit on the couch when it’s all said and done, minimize regret, be okay with what I did, and [know] that I was intentional about trying to chase a championship.”
One of the Vikings biggest flaws in 2022 was their defense, which ranked near the bottom of the NFL in a number of categories. In order to try and fix that, they’ve brought in Brian Flores as the defensive coordinator. Adofo-Mensah shared some thoughts on what he thinks Flores can bring to the Vikings in 2023:
“I can’t say enough good things about that addition. It’s not just the football mind, which is special…and then you talk about the leader, how passionate he is. He fits so well in our culture which is positivity, which is passionate, and he fits so well into that. We need the leader, we need the football mind, we need the developer, we also need the personnel guy…he’s the type of thinker we need.”
The Vikings find themselves in an interesting spot at the QB position heading into 2023. Kirk Cousins is set to carry a $36.25 million cap hit this upcoming season, and there has been some discourse about Minnesota potentially drafting a quarterback this spring. Here is what Adofo-Mensah had to say when asked about Cousins and the Vikings future at the QB position.
“A necessary condition is having a starting level quarterback, a quarterback above a certain threshold. That isn’t the only thing you need, but that is one of the things you need. Having a good level quarterback is a necessary condition. Kirk the quarterback meets that threshold, so we know that. How do you build the rest of the team around him to make sure you can win in that way?” explained Adofo-Mensah.
“Different quarterbacks require different things around them,” he continued. “We know for sure he meets that threshold, but how long does he meet that threshold? Those are the things we have to answer.”
It appears that the Vikings are confident that they can continue to compete at a high level with Cousins in 2023, but it’s worth noting that the Vikings GM also asked the “how long?” question in regards to their starting QB. There certainly is a possibility that the Vikings look to acquire a QB this offseason, and it could result in a draft pick in April.
This was a very interesting little tidbit from Adofo-Mensah’s time at the podium. When he was asked about the Vikings linebacker position, he mentioned names like Brian Asamoah, Troy Dye, and William Kwenkeu, but neither Jordan Hicks or Eric Kendricks were brought up.
Both Hicks and Kendricks have been among those rumored to be potential ‘cap casualties’ as the Vikings try to get back under the salary cap threshold, and this bit of commentary from the GM won’t quell those rumors at all.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.