EAGAN, Minn. The Minnesota Vikings are hiring Cleveland Brown’s vice president of football operations Kwesi Adofo-Mensah as their new general manager, a source tells ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Schefter reports that Adofo-Mensah will get a four-year deal to replace Rick Spielman, who was fired at the end of the 2021 season after a 16-year term as the Vikings’ general manager, producing a record of 132-123-2.
Adofo-Mensah is the 10th person in franchise history to hold a general manager title and / or perform tasks as the team’s GM (current executive vice president of football operations Rob Brzezinski was the top football director from 2002 to 2005 without an official GM title) . He comes to Minnesota after spending the 2020-21 seasons in Cleveland working under general manager Andrew Berry.
Berry hired Adofo-Mensah from San Francisco in 2020, after spending seven seasons as the 49ers’ manager – then director – of football research and development. The 40-year-old holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in economics from Princeton and Stanford, respectively, and had several Wall Street projects as a portfolio manager and commodity trader before joining the NFL.
Adofo-Mensah’s first order will be to drive the Vikings’ search for a new head coach after Minnesota fired Mike Zimmer after eight seasons. At the same time, the Vikings conducted interviews for their next general manager, starting with eight candidates before narrowing their search to two finalists – Adofo-Mensah and Chiefs of Staff Ryan Poles – the team also spoke to eight candidates for its opening with head coach, a candidate pool containing five defensive coordinators and three offensive coordinators.
49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans, who was quality control and linebackers coach for the 49ers in the last three seasons that Adofo-Mensah spent with the franchise from 2017 to 2019, was Minnesota’s last head coach interview from the preliminary round on Sunday.
Adofo-Mensah’s second interview took place in Minnesota on Tuesday, the same day the Chicago Bears finalized a deal to hire Poles as their next general manager, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. As the second finalist for the Vikings’ general manager opening, the Poles were scheduled for a personal interview at the TCO Performance Center on Wednesday.
In Cleveland, Adofo-Mensah Berry assisted with the day-to-day running of the front office while overseeing talent evaluators and the analysis team. He inherits a structure in Minnesota that is currently without an assistant general manager, but which has senior human resources managers, including Brzezinski, who manages the team’s salary cap, and co-directors of player staff Ryan Monnens and Jamaal Stephenson. All three were part of the committee that interviewed the team’s general manager candidates.
Adofo-Mensah interviewed Carolina’s general manager, who opened in 2021. In addition to Minnesota, he also interviewed the Bears for their GM vacancy.
A decision approved by NFL owners in 2020 says a team that loses a minority leader or coach to a general manager or head coach position with another NFL franchise will receive a compensatory third-round pick for two consecutive years.
The rule requires that the minority GM or head coach candidates have been in their respective club for at least two full seasons. Adofo-Mensah’s two-year stay in Cleveland in 2020-21 meets this requirement.