EAGAN, Minn. — The Minnesota Vikings say they have finalized a deal with Cleveland VP of Player Personnel Kwesi Adofo-Mensah to bring him aboard as the team's new general manager.
The team tweeted out a new era for Vikings football had started, welcoming him to the team.
"I am extremely thankful to the Wilf family and the Vikings organization for giving me the opportunity to lead our football operations and join this respected franchise," Adofo-Mensah said. "There is so much to appreciate about this organization - an existing nucleus of talent on the roster, top-notch facilities, passionate fans and smart people throughout the building who are committed to winning. I look forward to partnering with our next head coach and our entire football operations staff to begin our work of brining a Super Bowl to Vikings fans."
Vikings officials haven't released the details of the contract, but NFL Network reporter Cameron Wolf originally said the Vikings and Adofo-Mensah were in the process of finalizing a 4-year, $12 million deal. Wolf also posted reviews of the hire from two NFL front office execs he says he trusts.
“One of the smartest dudes I know,” said one.
“He’s going to kill it. Excellent hire,” shared the second.
Vikings co-owners Mark and Zygi Wilf weighed in with general praise for Adofo-Mensah's accolades and talent.
"His intelligence, progressive mindset and passion for the game, along with his ability to make thoughtful and intentional decisions, provide a tremendous foundation as he leads our football operations," said Zygi Wilf.
"Kwesi is naturally committed and driven to building the best teams through consensus building and the pursuit of information. We believe he will immediately make us better as a team and organization," said Mark Wilf.
There are also reports on social media that the team is in discussions to add Catherine Raiche, an executive with the Philadelphia Eagles, as assistant GM.
NFL insiders say Adofo-Mensah became the team's leading candidate Tuesday after highly-sought Kansas City Executive Director of Player Personnel Ryan Poles was snapped up by division rival Chicago. The Vikings had also interviewed Poles, and reportedly had him near the top of their hiring list.
Broadcaster Larry Fitzgerald Sr., Managing General Partner of the National Programming Network, believes Adofo-Mensah could make a positive difference in the Vikings' performance.
"I like the fact that we're getting a man with a (San Francisco 49ers) background," Fitzgerald Sr. said.
Fitzgerald Sr. says there is a certain understanding that a black leader brings.
"Colin Kapernick," he said. "The man takes a knee and he did it for the reasons he believed would hopefully bring attention to something that was very important to him that he was seeing happen in America. Well the Minnesota Vikings totally stayed away from that … When you hire a black general manager, he's going to be able to come from the top and being able to understand what's going on in America and you can't ignore what's going on in America because it is what it is."
Former Vikings punter and broadcaster Greg Coleman also notes how times have changed
"I can remember Larry Fitzgerald many, many years ago the Vikings would not allow him in the locker room to do his job as a reporter saying that KMOJ was not a viable news outlet," Coleman said. "Well, a lot of the African-American players didn't buy into that. We went upstairs and said, 'Well if Larry can't do his job, we won't talk to anyone.' So there has been change but change is good sometimes, and I think Kwesi will do a good job here with the Vikings."
Former Gopher Kunle Ayinde once had the opportunity to attend a Vikings mini rookie camp for a couple of days. He says it gave him insight into how an NFL general manager can be involved with players or potential players and the decisions that are made.
"He was right there shaking everybody's hand," he said of his time meeting then-GM Rick Spielman.
Now the owner of Sweat Equity Performance, Ayinde didn't get picked for the team. However he's still a fan who follows the updates including today's.
"It's cool just because we've never really had [a black GM] before," he said. "We've had Denny Green as a head coach but we've never really had a GM who is making the decisions … Just to see somebody like that have that role and show younger people that like hey we can start from a place where we're not having all of the resources but in the end if you put your mind toward something you can get to prominent positions."
Adofo-Mensah graduated from Princeton, where he played basketball and earned his degree in finance, later adding a master's degree from Stanford. Prior to his work in the NFL, Adofo-Mensah worked as an associate portfolio manager at Taylor Woods Capital and was Vice President/Executive Director at Credit Suisse as a commodities trader.
He joined the 49ers in 2013, serving in the team's research and development department before moving to Cleveland in 2020 as the club's VP of Player Personnel.
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