Kwesi Adofo-Mensah Calls 2024 a “Big Offseason” for Vikings

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Las Vegas Raiders
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

While every offseason is a big offseason for NFL teams, especially those that finish just out of reach of the playoffs, this one feels like it carries just a little bit of extra importance for the Minnesota Vikings.

The Vikings finished the 2023 season with a 7-10 record, and now, they have a number of major and potentially franchise-changing decisions to make over the next few months. A number of players are set to enter free agency, and the Vikings have nine draft picks along with a large chunk of salary cap space to play with.

Vikings GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell spoke on the implications of this offseason during Minnesota’s end-of-season press conference on Wednesday. A number of topics were discussed such as the QB position, Danielle Hunter, and of course, the Justin Jefferson contract extension.

A “Big Offseason” Sits in Front of the Minnesota Vikings

Big Offseason
Dec 10, 2023; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Minnesota Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell (left) and general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah react during the game against the Minnesota Vikings at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

One major point of discussion in the press conference was the future of Kirk Cousins. Adofo-Mensah stated during the presser, “I thought we were playing really good football before [Kirk] got injured, and it’s the most important position in sports now. Ultimately, it always comes down to can you find an agreement that works for both sides and all of those things, but as a player, it’s certainly my intention to have him back here.”

Cousins entered 2023 on the final year of his contract with the Vikings, which is a situation he had never been in since he signed with the team back in 2018. Even with the injury, it likely will take a pretty large chunk of cash to keep the veteran in town, but considering Minnesota already has $28.5 million on the books for him this season, the Vikings probably won’t reach far into their $36.3 million in cap space (per Over the Cap) to bring him back.

Still, there is the question of when it ultimately is time to move on from the veteran in favor of younger, cheaper talent. The Vikings hold the 11th overall pick in this spring’s draft, and they very likely could opt to spend that selection (or even move up the board) in search of their QB of the future.

Ultimately, the goal for this team is to eventually bring a Super Bowl to Minnesota. There were times during the 2023 season where, under Cousins, it seemed like the team was close to that goal. Their win over the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football was incredible.

Oct 23, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) passes against the San Francisco 49ers in the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

However, injuries seemed to derail the season a bit, and the team’s overall depth simply wasn’t able to carry over that success this year. It seems like improving not only the starting talent, but the depth of the Vikings is very important to Adofo-Mensah this offseason.

“You want to get to that place in your program […] where it’s consistent year in and year out,” Adofo-Mensah explained. “You can overcome adversity, and we’re not there to that standard yet, no, but we’ve made the playoffs, we’ve been in playoff contention for a lot of this year through a lot of things, so I think we’re pointing in the right direction. It’s gonna take a big offseason.”

It was the first of many times that the GM called this a “big offseason” or “important offseason” for the Vikings.

So, just how big is this offseason? Well, aside from Cousins and the QB room, the Vikings also have to think about the free agency of Danielle Hunter, who had a marvelous year with 23 tackles for loss and 16.5 sacks. They also have to finally get over that final hurdle in a Jefferson contract extension.

Adofo-Mensah made it clear that he has continued to have discussions with Jefferson’s camp on that contract extension, so hopefully, that wrinkle is as simple as dotting i’s and crossing t’s. He and O’Connell also spoke very highly of Hunter and what his presence means in the locker room.

Dec 24, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) celebrates his touchdown against the Detroit Lions during the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

“It was not lost on Danielle being voted a captain and what that looks like, what his teammates look at him like,” O’Connell said. “I saw some tremendous growth from Danielle on that side of things to go along with the production on the field.”

Hunter enters unrestricted free agency in March, but again, the Vikings have nearly $15 million in dead money on the books for him already. It wouldn’t be all that difficult for them to dish out a large deal to their star pass-rusher.

That being said, there are many areas where this team needs to improve during this upcoming offseason. The rushing attack fell short during much of the year again, and there were obvious holes in the defense down the stretch of the season.

Ultimately, though, Adofo-Mensah, O’Connell, and the rest of the staff are up to the challenge of finding ways to improve to set the franchise up for 2024 and beyond.

“It’s an important offseason,” Adofo-Mensah stated. “I can’t really run from that in any kind of way. We’ll continue to battle. We’ll continue to identify where we were lacking in terms of where we want to be and where we are now, and that’s the mindset we take.”

We’ll see if the actions ultimately live up to the words, but it looks like Vikings fans may be in for a very fun spring.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of 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.