Vikings GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah ready to get to work after finding perfect fit in Minnesota

The Vikings have their new executive leader. The importance of Kwesi Adofo-Mensah's role in Minnesota was not lost on the 40-year-old general manager.

Adofo-Mensah became visibly emotional at his introductory presser Thursday when considering the journey that led him to his position atop the Vikings franchise, taking a few moments to gather himself before explaining the importance of the lessons his mother taught him -- when things in life don't go your way, "all I can do is work" -- and how they've helped him reach this point in his career.

He has plenty of work ahead of him. Adofo-Mensah takes over a Vikings team that has failed to reach the postseason in each of the last two years and arrived at a fork in the road at the end of the 2021 season, electing to move on from the Rick Spielman/Mike Zimmer leadership duo that had directed the Vikings to three playoff appearances and two postseason wins from 2014-2021.

First up on Adofo-Mensah's to-do list: Find a head coach who will work in concert with him and the rest of the organization to put the Vikings on a path back to the postseason. The new GM told reporters Thursday he'd be headed to a meeting to discuss specifics on the head coaching search immediately after he was finished answering their questions, and the goal remains the same: collaboration.

"The job is about making decisions, building consensus in the building, combining different sources of information into one answer and having everybody behind it," Adofo-Mensah said. "Along those lines, I don't think there's many people more qualified than I am, just my background on Wall Street, having the emotional stability to make those decisions at a high level, be accountable to yourself and kind of learning and growing from that standpoint, that's an education that I'll never fully appreciate."

Adofo-Mensah said he felt he'd found the perfect fit for him as soon as the Vikings demonstrated their attention to detail and focus on process, not results.

"I really do believe I was meant to be your general manager," Adofo-Mensah said. "I think it was just meant to be."

A Princeton and Stanford graduate with a Wall Street past, Adofo-Mensah brings a unique background to the job, one that is often broadly described with one word: analytics. That term alone doesn't describe what Adofo-Mensah brings to the table, he said, though he did take the time to explain the basis of analytical thinking and how it can help the Vikings improve.

"For me, it's about being thoughtful and intentional," he said. "I don't think that's a new thing. I think that word has become about who is doing the work, not what is being done. ... It's about asking why, trying to figure out what you're doing ... at the end of the day, the core thing is learning, trying to figure out why and using that why to make better decisions with intent and just a detailed focus."

More important is Adofo-Mensah's NFL background, which began in San Francisco as a manager of football research. In his time there, he began to make connections with players and understand that they're more than just elite football players, gaining a human understanding in what can be a cold business. Then when he moved to Cleveland, Browns GM Andrew Berry made sure he was doing as much football work as possible, filing scouting reports and being involved in every personnel decision to get an up-close education on roster management.

Now, as Adofo-Mensah said Berry told him following his initial Vikings interview, he's found his people. Next come the decisions that will shape the franchise for years to come.

Adofo-Mensah declined to divulge who will have final say over the 53-man roster Thursday. Without a coach in place, it's reasonable to keep those details private, at least for now. The final choice of coach might alter that situation, but it doesn't matter to Adofo-Mensah, who said such power shouldn't be relevant if he's selected a coach with whom he can, again, collaborate.

"We're gonna dive into this head-coaching search," Adofo-Mensah said, "and bring a partner for me and this organization that's gonna lead us where we want to go."

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