Kwesi Adofo-Mensah Refuses to be Boxed Into a Corner

3 Bold Predictions
Mar 1, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah talks to the media during the 2022 NFL Combine. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

After a bit more than a year on the job, Vikings GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has proven that he refuses to be boxed into a corner.

The broader Vikings community can be an opinionated bunch (especially those who like to hang around Twitter). Quite often, writers, podcasters, and fans articulate a vision for the team that ends up missing the mark.

The Vikings Still Have Work to Do in Free Agency
Jul 27, 2022; Eagan, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah looks on at TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports
  • The upcoming defensive overhaul means the team will jettison both Jordan Hicks and Eric Kendricks to save $14.5 million. Not so fast.
  • The team will look to retain Duke Shelley after his breakout season Apparently not.
  • Time to extend Kirk Cousins after his Kirko Chainz clutch craziness. Looking increasingly unlikely.
  • Adding a free agent WR2 is a top priority. The franchise disagrees.
  • The cap crunch means there won’t be any major free agency deals. Byron Murphy and Marcus Davenport suggest otherwise.

Yes, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah often sets his sights on a different prize than the team’s fans (and writers).

One of the current theories that reigns among fans of the Purple & Gold is that the team is steering toward adding a QB in the NFL Draft. The event will take place from April 27-29 and it features prospects who have intrigued fan and scout alike.

There are a consensus top 4 – C.J. Stroud, Bryce Young, Will Levis, Anthony Richardson – and then a smorgasbord of “lesser” options who could nevertheless become NFL starters. Hendon Hooker, Jaren Hall, Tanner McKee, Clayton Tune, and Dorian Thompson-Robinson all find themselves in the less illustrious group (among several others).

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Sep 3, 2022; Lexington, Kentucky, USA; Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Will Levis (7) looks to pass during the second quarter against the Miami (Oh) Redhawks at Kroger Field. Mandatory Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

There’s a very good chance Minnesota opts for a signal caller in the draft. Does Minnesota need to do so, though? By no means.

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has acknowledged that he covets flexibility. Constraining the team by devoting massive guarantees across multiple seasons to the suddenly older Cousins doesn’t appear to be too appealing to the Vikings GM.

However, the door remains open. If, for instance, Cousins puts together his best ever season in 2023, Adofo-Mensah could very easily circle back to his QB1, shiny offer in hand. Alternatively, the GM could let his starting QB his the open market, allowing the rest of the NFL to set his price before returning to the negotiating table. Heck, there could even be a trade before any of those possibilities present themselves.

The Vikings GM covets options. He wants value in his business dealings, both with his picks and the contracts he offers. Clearly, those ideas are foundational to how he operates as the most significant decision maker in Eagan.

Nov 6, 2022; Landover, Maryland, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) and Vikings quarterback Nick Mullens (12) run onto the field for warmup prior to their game against the Washington Commanders at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Seeing a highly-regarded QB tumble down the draft board is far from unprecedented. In that scenario, Adofo-Mensah may pounce at the opportunity. The pick would represent great value and infuse the franchise with more QB flexibility in future years. However, we should all be surprised if the GM forces a pick due to a perceived need, even for a position as consequential as quarterback.

So much of the impetus for free agency – especially in the second wave – has been to fortify more uncertain position groups. In so doing, the Vikings won’t feel compelled to reach in the draft, an approach that would forfeit the value that Adofo-Mensah sees as being so foundational to his approach.

The GM can create more cap space and sign more free agents, and yet he’s mostly staying on the sidelines. The plan, quite evidently, is to see how the draft shakes out and then circle back to free agency. Minnesota’s young executive must feel confident in the overall ability of his roster, the potential in the draft, and the talent still present in free agency.

The main takeaway, then, is that we can’t make hard-and-fast predictions about what Kwesi Adofo-Mensah is going to do. He has intentionally put his franchise in a position where they don’t need to do anything. Yes, corner is a concern and more help is needed, but the potential method of improvement is varied. Draft picks, UDFA signings, trades, and FA signings are all in play.

As a general rule, sports thrive largely due to being unpredictable. It’s a quality that even extends to offseason dealings. We have hints and guesses for how things will play out, but don’t forget that Kwesi Adofo-Mensah refuses to be boxed into a corner.