The Minnesota Vikings have a situation at quarterback — namely that their new general manager doesn’t appear overly confident in Kirk Cousins‘ ability to help the franchise thrive on a Super Bowl level.
Kwesi Adofo-Mensah isn’t just new to the Vikings organization, he’s entirely unfamiliar with running an NFL team. The opportunity he received in Minnesota this offseason is the first of his career after coming up with the San Francisco 49ers and the Cleveland Browns. Adofo-Mensah’s lack of experience shone through recently when he made less than flattering comments about Cousins during an interview with USA Today on Friday, July 22.
Reporters spoke with Cousins on Thursday, six days after Adofo-Mensah’s slip up, and asked the quarterback about his feelings on the situation. Cousins was as measured and as even-keeled as ever with his response to a query that he must have known was coming.
“I haven’t given it much thought with training camp being so busy and consuming so much of my time,” Cousins said, according to Kevin Seifert of ESPN. “I’m not too concerned about it.”
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Vikings GM Compared Cousins to Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes
To his credit, Adofo-Mensah didn’t say Cousins couldn’t play the game — he just said his quarterback couldn’t play it as well as two of the best to ever put on an NFL uniform.
During his assessment of Cousins, the Vikings GM invoked the names of Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs and Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have won two of the last three Super Bowls and a total of eight championship rings between them.
Adofo-Mensah told USA Today last week that the Vikings have a “good quarterback” in Cousins, but added that “we don’t have Tom Brady” and “we don’t have [Patrick] Mahomes.”
“[The Super Bowl] is more likely to [be won] if you have that quarterback,” he continued. “It’s very unlikely to have that quarterback.”
Former NFL Player Pat McAfee Rips Adofo-Mensah Over Cousins Comments
Adofo-Mensah went on to admit his concern over making a mistake at the quarterback position.
“I’ll be frank,” the Vikings GM said. “The one asset where you get nervous about not burning it down is quarterback.”
His comments were a bit ironic, considering they had the potential to do just that, albeit in a different way than he meant. And while Cousins handled the commentary with maturity, former NFL punter and current sports media mogul Pat McAfee ripped Adofo-Mensah for the mistake on the Wednesday, July 27, edition of the Pat McAfee Show.
We’ve had some optimism that the Vikings take the next step, even though it’s a first-year head coach [and] first-year GM, mostly because it feels like Kirk Cousins got a little dog in him, and Kirk Cousins is going to be let off the leash.
It was a bit alarming when we heard and read these quotes. Is this meant as a negative? It feels like it. … [Adofo-Mensah] is not a pundit on TV. He’s a general manager of a team and it’s Day 1 of training camp. You just gave [Cousins] a new deal and it kind of feels like you’re cutting him down at the knees.
I don’t want to judge him, but this guy is going to stink as GM. I’ve never met this guy, massive respect you got a GM job, way to go, you’re much smarter than me. [But] I think you’re f***ing dropping the ball.
Adofo-Mensah attempted to clarify his comments the day before McAfee’s strong reaction to them, during a team press conference on July 26.
“I’m kinda new to the media thing. I think, at times, I’m a very passionate person. I love talking about this stuff — team-building, decision-making — and I think in those moments, I can get theoretical and high-level,” Adofo-Mensah said. “But as general manager of the Minnesota Vikings, everybody’s going to fill in the gaps of what I’m saying and relate it to the team, and that’s unfair for me to put that on the organization.”
“Kirk knows how I feel about him,” he continued. “We’re in a great place. I love his mindset coming into camp, and that’s where we’re at.”
Adofo-Mensah extended Cousins for a fully-guaranteed $35 million during the offseason. The quarterback is set to earn $40 million in 2022 and $30 million the following year.