EAGAN, Minn. – Vikings Head Coach Kevin O'Connell and General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah have been assured that a poor decision made by Jordan Addison last week won't be repeated.
And they believe it.
Adofo-Mensah and O'Connell each spoke with media members Tuesday, shortly after the team reported for Vikings Training Camp presented by Omni Viking Lakes Hotel. They acknowledged the severity of Addison being cited for high speeds and reckless driving in St. Paul, emphasizing that such behavior is unacceptable.
They also are allowing space for the rookie to learn a valuable lesson.
"Jordan through the draft process impressed us with what type of person he is. And obviously he made a mistake, but what you see after the fact – from his representatives to his family, who reached out to me – this kid was raised right," Adofo-Mensah said. "He knows that what he did was a mistake, and everybody in his life is aligned to make sure this is a one-time occurrence. We want to make sure we coach him up that this is something that shouldn't happen – and was serious."
View photos of the second-wave of players arriving for 2023 Vikings Training Camp at the TCO Performance Center.
O'Connell reiterated Adofo-Mensah's comments and said the two of them have spoken with Addison "multiple times" since the incident.
"I was disappointed," O'Connell said. "But it was a mistake, and I think he's obviously owning that mistake and knows that's something that can't happen again.
"This was a mistake that happened, and he's a rookie," O'Connell added. "You'd love to say that no mistakes like that are ever going to happen, but the big thing for me talking to Jordan was, 'Let's learn from it. Let's make sure we're moving forward the right way.' And I think he's got a good perspective on owning it, taking responsibility, but also moving forward the right way."
O'Connell and Adofo-Mensah stand by Addison's character, which they've spoken of since drafting him 23rd overall in April.
"We believe in Jordan and his future," Adofo-Mensah said.
"He's always been a guy, through the whole draft process and getting to know him and his family and everything, I have a 100-percent confidence in Jordan," O'Connell said. "That he's obviously going to have a great camp, but I also still feel very strongly about the person and player we added to our team."
Here are three other takeaways from sessions with O'Connell and Adofo-Mensah:
1. Injury updates on O'Neill, others
O'Connell referenced the roster moves made Monday, which included rookie outside linebacker Andre Carter II starting training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.
"He sustained a soft tissue injury training this summer. Hopefully that's something we can pull him off of in the not-too-distant future," O'Connell said. "Chris Reed sustained a non-football injury away from the facility, a lower-leg injury. We're hoping that he's not that far behind Andre to be able to get going, but outside those two guys and a couple of the new guys that we just signed recently that we'll get up to speed, all of the others are healthy and ready to go."
He noted that right tackle Brian O'Neill, who sustained an Achilles injury at Green Bay late last season, will not be on the PUP list but will "continue a pre-determined plan for him that allows him to progress toward the ultimate goal," which is Week 1 against the Buccaneers.
"It will be a process throughout camp. I'll try to keep you guys updated," O'Connell said. "The last time I talked to you, guys were dealing with different things, injuries, the rehab process – all of our players knocked it out of the park this summer. Guys have had great offseasons, […] and Brian has led the charge on that, so he's had a really good offseason, as well. All others will be healthy and ready to go."
2. Potential extensions for Cousins and Hockenson?
Quarterback Kirk Cousins right now is slated to become a free agent at the end of the current league year.
Adofo-Mensah was asked about the situation and whether conversations about a potential extension remain on the table.
"We had great conversations with Kirk and his [agent, Mike McCartney]. Ultimately when you sit across the table from somebody, you try and understand their perspective and make sure they understand yours. That's how our conversations were," Adofo-Mensah said. "It was never a type of thing where it was combative or it was 'yes' or 'no.' It was, 'Right now, we can't come to a solution that fits both of our perspectives.' But we always knew we were going to keep coming back to the table and conversing about where we see these things – and ultimately try to find a decision that works for both parties."
Adofo-Mensah explained the importance being "scenario-driven" when envisioning the future and contract decisions with any player.
"[You have to] be prepared for every potential outcome," he said. "That's what we do in this job. The quarterback position is extremely important, but it's no different in terms of being able to prepare for those plans. Ultimately, again, I always say there's a certain level you need to have to win a championship, so you're trying to make sure you can have that within the confines of putting the rest of the team around him. And that's what we're always going to continue to do."
Adofo-Mensah was asked a similar contract question about tight end T.J. Hockenson, whom the Vikings acquired via trade last November.
Hockenson is also due to hit free agency next spring if an extension agreement isn't reached.
"Great dialogue with his agent. We spoke recently, as well," Adofo-Mensah said. "I called T.J. in when he got here. Again, another person who fits what we want here as a Viking long-term. We're gonna try to find a solution for that, as well."
3. 'Competitive rebuild'
In their first year together, Adofo-Mensah and O'Connell spoke about the term "competitive rebuild."
The 2022 squad proceeded to go 13-4 and win the NFC North.
Adofo-Mensah was asked about that term again and said, in some degrees, the Vikings are "rebuilding."
"It is a competitive rebuild in terms of how I viewed it when I got here," he noted. "So if you look back at that three-year time horizon, that's the plan we set. How do we shift from maybe where they were to getting to where we want to go, but still be good?
"When we made the playoffs, I'll never forget – Kevin and I, that was our first time together, and we make the playoffs and look at each other and were like, 'Man, yeah, this is too great.' We want to be great every year and give ourselves a chance," Adofo-Mensah continued. "So that's kind of what it was. It was, 'How do you shapeshift while still winning?' And ultimately, that's a little riskier than tearing everything down and being bad for a while and then coming back up. I know that. I could tell you the mathematical probability of doing it that way. And certainly, that's a way that other teams may have chosen, but that's not how we're trying to do it.
"We're trying to be good, figure out a way to be competitive, give yourselves many chances at it so you can get one – or more – championships," he added. "That's what we believe in here, and we'll always try to pursue that."