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5 Things to Know About New Vikings GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah


EAGAN, Minn. — Kwesi Adofo-Mensah is the new general manager of the Minnesota Vikings.

The team announced the hiring of Adofo-Mensah on Wednesday, one day after he spent several hours interviewing at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center.

Adofo-Mensah was one of eight candidates whose interviews had been confirmed by the Vikings. He first interviewed with the team on Jan. 17.

The 40-year-old was most recently the Vice President of Football Operations for the Cleveland Browns, a position he had held for the past two seasons.

Here are five things to know about the Vikings new general manager.

1. NFL stops before Minnesota

Adofo-Mensah was with a pair of NFL teams before joining the Vikings.

He was hired by San Francisco as the team's Manager of Football Research and Development in 2013 and held that position until 2017 when he was promoted to Director of Football Research and Development. Adofo-Mensah held that position until the conclusion of the 2019 season.

Adofo-Mensah helped the 49ers to the NFC's No. 1 seed and a Super Bowl appearance in his final season in San Francisco by developing and implementing quantitative methods for game strategy and personnel evaluation.

Cleveland hired Adofo-Mensah as its Vice President of Football Operations in 2020.

According to his Browns bio, Adofo-Mensah provided "input to all roster and strategic football decisions, collaborating with Executive Vice President of Football Operations Andrew Berry" and helped Berry oversee and manage the day-to-day operations of the team."

The 2022 season will be his 10th in the league.

2. A unique background

A native of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Adofo-Mensah didn't begin his professional career in the NFL.

Instead, he worked as an associate portfolio manager at Taylor Woods Capital Management, which is a property management company based in Connecticut.

He was later the Vice President/Executive Director at Credit Suisse as a commodities trader.

Credit Suisse is global investment bank and financial services firm founded and based in Switzerland.

3. A rising star

Adofo-Mensah has quietly been on the NFL radar for some time, as he was included among The Athletic’s 40 Under 40 as one of "football's youngest power brokers" in August.

Adofo-Mensah, who was 39 years old at the time of publication, was one of 15 team personnel and business executives listed.

Berry spoke with The Athletic about why he brought Adofo-Mensah to Cleveland. Berry said:

"No. 1, it's his general cognitive abilities. He's a super, super bright guy, and that comes across within the first two minutes that you meet him. No. 2, and probably just as importantly, it's just people skills. You could see how he had been able to build relationships across a number of different groups during his time at San Francisco in a role that can be very challenging, because you have to be able to not only develop (analytic) insights, but communicate them and get people to buy in. And then the other thing was just his breadth of understanding of the sport and football operations. So even though he had formally just led the 49ers' research group, you could tell that he understood team building, people, relationships and managerial skills at a much higher level."

4. He's got plenty of brain power

Adofo-Mensah has quite the educational background, as he attended (and graduated from) two of the most prestigious universities in the nation.

He first graduated from Princeton University with a bachelor's degree in economics.

Adofo-Mensah later went on to receive his master's degree in economics from Stanford University.

5. An eye for data

Adofo-Mensah in June spoke at the NFL’s Coaching Summit, which is regarded as one of the most collaborative and informational league meetings on an annual basis.

Adofo-Mensah's session focused on how he evaluates the quarterback position, and included data and metrics that provide a quantitative view to grading a quarterback's short, medium and deep ball accuracy.

"[Analytics] is about evolution, not revolution," Adofo-Mensah said. "We take this framework that has been used for years, and we're just applying it to different things. We're creating decision rules, and we're determining how those decision rules will help us in the future.

"Hope is not a strategy," he added. "There are lots of things that can occur in the future, and it's our job and obligation to study them, understand the risks and choose a course of action that will put us in a good situation no matter what happens."