Vikings GM Put Under Fire Ahead of Draft, Insider Reveals

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, Vikings

Getty General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah of the Minnesota Vikings.

Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has put months — perhaps years — of work into getting this year’s draft right, putting him into arguably the hottest seat in the NFL ahead of draft day.

The Athletic’s Diana Russini reported on April 22 that Adofo-Mensah leads a group of five general managers that she understands are under the most pressure.

“The GM under the most pressure in this draft is the Vikings’ Kwesi Adofo-Mensah,” Russini wrote. “Three years into his regime, his Vikings are 20-14 but without a playoff win. After letting Kirk Cousins walk — despite his head coach’s public desire to keep the QB — Adofo-Mensah is running out of time. This might be the best opportunity he has to add a franchise-altering passer.”

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah Finally Hatches His Plan After Moving on From Kirk Cousins

Adofo-Mensah, O'Connell, Vikings

GettyGeneral manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah (left) and head coach Kevin O’Connell (right) of the Minnesota Vikings.

Given the leap of faith of moving on from Cousins, the Vikings are expected to do “everything they can do to move up” on the first day of the draft, Russini added.

However, this plan was hatched even before Adofo-Mensah was hired, and while his actions on Thursday, April 25, will be under a microscope, they’ve been part of a calculated process.

Cousins wasn’t going to play forever, and after four seasons and just one playoff win to show for it, they had to know what their next regime’s plan was to move on.

Adofo-Mensah toed the middle ground for the first two years under a “competitive rebuild.” He hired Kevin O’Connell, who maximized Cousins for two years and created arguably the best locker room and organizational culture in the league.

But now, is when Adofo-Mensah begins his true plans for the franchise.

With the added cap space of not carrying a veteran quarterback contract, Adofo-Mensah already reinforced the defense with Jonathan Greenard and Andrew Van Ginkel and inside linebacker Blake Cashman — all top-100 free agents in Pro Football Focus’ 2024 rankings.

Next will be which quarterback he’ll hitch his wagon to for the next four years — and if he picks right, the next decade.

Vikings May Receive Parting Gift From Cousins in the Draft

Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings

GettyKirk Cousins of the Atlanta Falcons.

After weeks of silence on the NFL’s investigation into whether the Atlanta Falcons tampered in their pursuit of Cousins in free agency, the league may decide soon.

“The NFL’s investigation into alleged tampering charges against the Falcons for their involvement with then-free agent quarterback Kirk Cousins and the [Philadelphia] Eagles for their involvement with then-free agent running back Saquon Barkley is ongoing and could reach a conclusion as early as this week, per sources,” ESPN’s Adam Schefter wrote on Monday, April 22. “Sources believe the discipline, which is likely to involve draft picks, [will] be more severe for the Falcons.”

There is speculation that the Vikings could receive compensation if tampering affected their ability to re-sign Cousins — with the Falcons’ No. 8 overall pick the crown jewel of draft conspiracies.

“Given the manner in which the NFL handled last year’s tampering by the Cardinals with former Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon, it’s impossible to rule out an announcement that drops just before the first round of the draft. The Falcons have the eighth pick in round one. The Vikings have the eleventh. What if the punishment is as simple as the Falcons and Vikings flip-flopping the two picks,” Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio wrote earlier this month.

“The NFL set the precedent last year, with the sudden and unexpected news of the Cardinals-Eagles settlement. It would make sense for it to happen again, between the Falcons and the Vikings.”