Kwesi Adofo-Mensah Appears Ready to Do Something He Has Never Done as the Vikings’ GM

NFL Executives Were Impressed by the Vikings 2023 Draft
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah took over back in January of 2022.

Since then, the young executive has shepherded Minnesota through a pair of drafts. The 2022 NFL Draft involved making ten selections (alongside six trades) and then the 2023 NFL Draft involved making six selections (alongside three trades). Pretty surprisingly, the Vikings haven’t picked an edge rusher across those drafts.

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah Appears Ready to Scoop Up an Edge Rusher

Any chance Minnesota walks away from the draft without an edge rusher?

The past couple of offseasons have featured Minnesota making an effort to improve the depth at the position, but that has occurred after the draft. Adofo-Mensah has turned to undrafted free agency for help, bringing in options like Luiji Vilain, Zack McCloud, and Andre Carter II to intensify the roster competition.

Otherwise, the adds have come in free agency.

Aug 10, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Seahawks offensive tackle Jake Curhan (74) blocks Minnesota Vikings linebacker Andre Carter II (55) during the first half at Lumen Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

In all likelihood, the Vikings will continue being aggressive with adding some of the top UDFAs. However, maintaining that approach shouldn’t dissuade Minnesota from considering an edge rusher or two when draft picks are being used.

Earlier in the week, the news emerged that Minnesota was bringing in Dallas Turner for a visit. Tom Pelissero gave the update: “Alabama edge Dallas Turner, who could be the first defensive player off the board, is visiting the #Vikings today. Minnesota owns the No. 11 pick (and No. 23).”

And then there was the meeting with Laiatu Latu. Ian Rapoport offered the Tuesday update: “#UCLA edge Laiatu Latu, one of the draft’s best pass rushers, is on a Top 30 visit to the #Vikings today, source said.”

Dec 31, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Dallas Turner (15) reacts during the first half against the Cincinnati Bearcats in the 2021 Cotton Bowl college football CFP national semifinal game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Landing Mr. Turner or Mr. Latu would be an exciting development for the Flores defense. One of those guys could partner with Jonathan Greenard and Andrew Van Ginkel to form a terrifying trio in the pass rush.

Now, drafting Turner would almost certainly require the No. 11 pick; drafting Latu may be possible at 23. The reigning theory is that Minnesota will use their opening-round draft capital — No. 11 and No. 23 — to go after a top-tier quarterback. The end result could involve waiting until Day 3 to pickup some help at edge rusher.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings Training Camp
Jul 28, 2022; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah looks on during training camp at TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

So far, the greatest focus of Adofo-Mensah’s defensive draft picks has been on the defensive backfield. There have been sixteen total picks and an even eight have been used on defenders. A whopping five of those eight picks — Lewis Cine, Andrew Booth Jr., Akayleb Evans, Mekhi Blackmon, and Jay Ward — have gone toward layering in youthful talent into the secondary.

The other trio of defensive picks — Brian Asamoah, Esezi Otomewo, and Jaquelin Roy — have addressed linebacker and the defensive line. Of all eight picks, Otomewo is the closest to being an edge rusher since he was a 3-4 defensive end. But, of course, he has been cut.

The 2024 NFL Draft takes place from April 25th to April 27th. Even if the opening-round selections get distilled down into a QB draft pick, the Viking seem very likely to add more talent at edge rusher.

Oh, and while you wait, feel free to check out PurplePTSD‘s pieces covering the GM’s trades, draft picks, and UDFA signings.

K. Joudry is the Senior Editor for Vikings Territory and PurplePTSD. He has been covering the Vikings full time since the summer of 2021. He can be found on Twitter and as a co-host for Notes from the North, a humble Vikings podcast.