EAGAN, Minn. – The Vikings have named their new general manager.
Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, 40, has been hired as Minnesota's GM, the team announced Wednesday.
"We are thrilled to welcome Kwesi to the Minnesota Vikings. His unique background, variety of strong football experiences, vision for success and leadership presence immediately stood out to us," said Vikings Owner/President Mark Wilf. "Kwesi is naturally committed and driven to building the best teams through consensus building and the pursuit of information. We believe he will immediately make us better as a team and organization."
"Kwesi has a clear philosophy on building a complementary football team," said Vikings Owner/Chairman Zygi Wilf. "His intelligence, progressive mindset and passion for the game, along with his ability to make thoughtful and intentional decisions, provide a tremendous foundation as he leads our football operations."
Most recently, Adofo-Mensah served as the Vice President of Football Operations for the Cleveland Browns, a role he held during the 2020 and 2021 seasons.
In Cleveland, Adofo-Mensah worked closely with Browns Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager Andrew Berry and the senior football staff to provide input for all roster and strategy decisions. Additionally, he assisted Berry with overseeing and managing the day-to-day operations of the team.
Adofo-Mensah was one of eight candidates whose interviews had been confirmed by the Vikings. He first interviewed on Jan. 17 and was flown to Minnesota for a follow-up interview on Jan. 25.
"I am extremely thankful to the Wilf family and the Vikings organization for giving me the opportunity to lead our football operations and join this respected franchise," said Adofo-Mensah. "There is so much to appreciate about this organization — an existing nucleus of talent on the roster, top-notch facilities, passionate fans and smart people throughout the building who are committed to winning. I look forward to partnering with our next head coach and our entire football operations staff to begin our work of bringing a Super Bowl to Vikings fans."
The native of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, has been an NFL fan since the age of 3 but first started his career in the league in 2013 as the San Francisco 49ers Manager of Football Research and Development. After four seasons in that position, Adofo-Mensah was promoted by the 49ers to Director of Football Research and Development.
He was hired in 2020 by Cleveland, where he worked with former Vikings coaches that include Browns Head Coach Kevin Stefanski, Defensive Coordinator Joe Woods, Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer and assistants Jeff Howard, Chad O'Shea, Brandon Lynch, Drew Petzing, Kevin Rogers and Evan Marcus.
"I've enjoyed getting to know Kwesi and working with him for the last two years," Stefanski said. "He's worked extremely hard for this opportunity, and the Vikings are getting an outstanding person that will be driven to build a winning culture. Kwesi has been a great resource for me and our coaching staff, and he will do everything in his power to install a process within the Vikings organization that will lead to success."
Multiple factors were at play in the Browns improvement over the past two seasons, but Adofo-Mensah helped the team post its best records (11-5 in 2020 and 8-9 in 2021) since 2007.
Last August, Adofo-Mensah was named among The Athletic’s 40 Under 40 as one of "football's youngest power brokers" as a 39-year-old.
Berry said he and his colleagues are "beyond excited" for Adofo-Mensah's new role with the Vikings.
"Kwesi's infectious energy, critical thinking skills, collaborative spirit and expertise across the football operations/player personnel spectrum made a lasting footprint here in a short period of time," Berry said. "These same characteristics will make him an exceptional leader, problem-solver and roster architect for the Vikings. While we are sad to see him go, we are proud of the person and executive that Kwesi is. We wish him and his fiancée, Chelsea, nothing but the best moving forward."
Prior to joining the NFL, Adofo-Mensah worked as an associate portfolio manager at Taylor Woods Capital and was Vice President/Executive Director at Credit Suisse as a commodities trader.
Adofo-Mensah graduated from Princeton University with a bachelor's degree in economics. He later went on to receive his master's degree in economics from Stanford University.
"I would say that my whole life, and not just my professional life, I have been really passionate about decision-making under uncertainty," Adofo-Mensah told Cleveland reporters in 2020. "I think Wall Street and my commodity trading background is a reflection of that. I think my graduate school in economics is a reflection that. I think playing basketball is a reflection of that.
"What draws people to sports from an academic environment is that you get a chance to apply some of these academic principles and the things that happen kind of subconsciously on the court or on the field," he added.
Last summer, Adofo-Mensah spoke at the NFL’s Coaching Summit, where he showed a glimpse of how he uses advanced statistics to grade quarterback talent and shared his approach to using research and development within talent evaluation.
"[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."