4 Major Topics from the Vikings Pre-Draft Press Conference

Vikings Press Conference Provides Insight
Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O'Connell

On Thursday afternoon, the Minnesota Vikings held a press conference with general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell taking the desk to answer questions from reporters. In the aftermath, we’re going to go over some of the main topics discussed this afternoon in the Vikings pre-draft press conference. Additionally, you can find the full presser linked here.

More Excitement for the 2022 Draft Class

Jul 27, 2022; Eagan, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings safety Lewis Cine (6) performs a drill at TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings draft class from 2022 didn’t get much of a chance to showcase their talents last season, and a big reason for that was injuries. Lewis Cine suffered a compound leg fracture that ended his season right as he was beginning to see playing time while Andrew Booth, Ty Chandler, and Akayleb Evans all missed time due to injury.

While the fact that four of Minnesota’s top seven picks all missed extensive time with injury is certainly discouraging, the comments from Adofo-Mensah and O’Connell should bring excitement for this group in year two, particularly Cine. Here is what O’Connell said of Cine and his recovery towards the end of today’s presser:

“He’s attacked [his recovery] every single day. You see him nowadays, he looks great, he’s in great physical shape, he’s here every day working, and you can just feel he’s hungry because he feels like he’s earned the right through all the work he’s put in, and I think he’s feeling pretty strong.”

Dalvin Cook’s Future

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Jan 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (4) during warmups before a wild card game against the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Very early on in the press conference, the Vikings GM received a question regarding Dalvin Cook and whether or not the plan was to keep him on the roster following the re-signing of Alexander Mattison, or if that was ever part of the plan.

Adofo-Mensah took a couple seconds to formulate an answer, and here is what he said of the Vikings four-time Pro Bowler:

“I think in theory they could exist, of course. [They’re] different style backs. We try, and again, we talk about the systems we’re trying to play together, again, they’re different style backs, and they could fit complementary together.”

Cook is set to carry a $14.1 million cap hit in 2023, and there have been rumors circulating because of this hit, his age, and the offseason shoulder surgery that he underwent that the Vikings could move on from him. Those whispers grew louder with the re-signing of Mattison as well as the reported interest in David Montgomery earlier in the offseason.

The New Free Agent Acquisitions

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Sep 18, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Arizona Cardinals cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. (7) celebrates after scoring on a 59-yard fumble recovery in overtime against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings brought in a couple very exciting players via free agency this offseason, including Marcus Davenport and Byron Murphy. Kevin O’Connell spent a few minutes discussing the type of impact that he expects these two, in particular, to have on their roster this season. Here is what the head coach said of Davenport:

“A lot of times when we start talking about players as a coach you reflect, and I reflect, on talking about the experiences you had playing against that player. He’s always struck me as a guy with so much potential, still so much football out in front of him, but impactful in the run and the pass game, affecting the edge, and really limiting things offenses will try to do against you with his role.”

And on Murphy:

“Obviously, from my experience in the NFC West, and a lot of conversations with a guy like Cooper Kupp, hey, this guy’s tough, this guy’s a really good football player, smart, instinctive. He does a lot of things both inside and out and can be versatile.”

The Minnesota Vikings defense in 2022 allowed the second-most total yards and third-most points in the NFL, prompting another change at defensive coordinator this offseason as well as the release of veteran players like Eric Kendricks. The hope is that these two signings in particular, along with Brian Flores at DC, can turn things around on that side of the ball.

Drafting a QB?

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Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker (5) before Tennessee’s game against Alabama in Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn., on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022. RANK 1 Kns Ut Bama Football Vol Walk Bp

A hot-button issue throughout this offseason has been the idea of the Vikings drafting a quarterback. Whether it be trading up to snag one of the early options, staying at No. 23 and hoping one falls, taking Hendon Hooker, or even trading down and selecting someone in the second or early third rounds, many fans are hoping to see the QB of the future on the roster sooner rather than later.

Adofo-Mensah answered another question regarding this topic as well, contributing a few thoughts on the importance of having a young QB in the room:

“QB is the most important position in our sport. Ultimately, these aren’t things you decide in the moment. You have to have plans, you have to have strategies, you have to have different ways of getting to that answer. So we’ve had these conversations, they’re ongoing, there’s lots of different avenues in terms of addressing that position, and I wouldn’t necessarily box us into just one.”

It should also be noted that during this press conference, O’Connell expressed excitement about working with current starter, Kirk Cousins, for another year, so it doesn’t seem like the rumored 49ers trade will be coming to fruition anytime soon.