Source AP: Vikings hire Browns’ Kwesi Adofo-Mensah as general manager | Sports News

By DAVE CAMPBELL, AP Professional Football Writer

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Vikings have hired Kwesi Adofo-Mensah as general manager, according to a person familiar with the process, taking an innovative twist by bringing in a Cleveland front office analytics expert who once worked on Wall Street.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity on Wednesday because the Vikings had yet to announce the decision.

Adofo-Mensah, vice president of football operations for the Browns for the past two years, was one of two finalists the Vikings identified from an initial pool of eight candidates.

The other was Kansas City executive director of player personnel Ryan Poles, who was hired Tuesday as general manager of the Chicago Bears before heading to Minnesota for his scheduled visit. Adofo-Mensah was at Vikings headquarters on Tuesday for his second official interview.

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With the Poles and Adofo-Mensah, who are both black, filling the vacancies this cycle, there are now seven minority general managers in the NFL. The other five are Andrew Berry (Cleveland), Jerry Fontenot (Atlanta), Chris Grier (Miami), Brad Holmes (Detroit) and Martin Mayhew (Washington).

As part of the NFL’s rewards system for teams developing minority coaches and front-office staff, the Browns will receive compensatory third-round draft picks in each of the next two years for losing Adofo-Mensah. . The league adopted this rule in 2020.

Adofo-Mensah, 40, has degrees in economics from Princeton, where he was a junior college basketball player, and Stanford. He hails from New Jersey, as do Vikings owners Zygi Wilf and Mark Wilf.

Adofo-Mensah was a commodities trader and portfolio manager early in his career before entering the NFL in 2013 with San Francisco as a research and development specialist. After seven seasons with the 49ers, Adofo-Mensah was hired by Berry and the Browns in 2020. Their relationship was formed from a chance encounter between the two in an elevator during the NFL combine.

Adofo-Mensah served as de facto assistant general manager under Berry with a hand in all aspects of team operations as the Browns transformed their front office and brought much-needed stability to the franchise.

“I came in an unconventional way, but I think my journey is positive because I didn’t have any preconceived ideas or prejudices,” Adofo-Mensah said during his introductory press conference with reporters. from Cleveland in 2020. He added, “I will choose every person’s brain and you find incredible knowledge from all over this league.

The Vikings, who fired Rick Spielman on Jan. 10 after 16 seasons with the organization and 10 years with full roster authority as general manager, went 8-9 in 2021. They missed the playoffs for the second consecutive season.

Adofo-Mensah’s background couldn’t be more different from that of Spielman, the son of a high school coach who played in college and watched his younger brother become a four-time Pro Bowl linebacker in the NFL. Spielman, 59, rose through the ranks as a scout for Detroit before landing managerial roles in Chicago and Miami. He was a meticulous evaluator who often stood alone while the Vikings practiced, carefully monitoring every drill and game.

The other six people who had video interviews this month with the Vikings were Philadelphia director of player personnel Brandon Brown, Cleveland vice president of player personnel Glenn Cook, Tennessee director of player personnel Monti Ossenfort, Philadelphia vice president of football operations Catherine Raiche, Tampa Bay vice president player personnel president John Spytek and New England recruiting consultant Eliot Wolf. Half of this group is black and Raîche is a woman.

The first order of business for Adofo-Mensah, in conjunction with ownership, will be to hire a head coach to replace Mike Zimmer, who was fired after eight seasons on the same day as Spielman.

The Vikings, which are one of nine teams with a vacancy, conducted initial interviews via videoconference with eight candidates: Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, Philadelphia defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon, Green Bay offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, Dallas offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell, Dallas defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and San Francisco defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans.

Ryans was on the 49ers staff during Adofo-Mensah’s last three seasons with the team.

Then there are the many conundrums surrounding the roster, with one of the tightest salary cap situations in the league this year. There is a projected $45 million charge for quarterback Kirk Cousins ​​in the final season of his contract.

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