Kevin O’Connell has gone from calling plays for Sean McVay and the Los Angeles Rams to taking the head coaching reins in the twin cities. He’s bringing former Ram Wes Phillips (son of former NFL head coach and defensive coordinator Wade) with him on staff.
But now, the Vikings’ latest personnel hire involves the NFC North team plucking away from the 49ers on Monday, May 16.
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First reported by Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network at 7:23 a.m. PT, the Vikings and general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah have hired away Demitrius Washington from the 49ers, who held a key role in the analytics department under general manager John Lynch.
“The Vikings have hired former 49ers Director of Research and Development Demitrius Washington as their new Vice President of Football Operations. Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, who actually held this title with the Browns, is finalizing his football structure, and this hire is a key part of it,” Rapoport tweeted.
But what were the reasonings why the Vikings went after Washington? And what did their general manager see in him that persuaded the Vikes to go after the now former 49er?
GM Explains Reasoning
Adofo-Mensah shared his excitement with the Vikings’ team website on making the hire to lure in Washington.
“We couldn’t be more excited to have Demitrius join the Vikings front office,” Adofo-Mensah said. “He is one of the most uniquely gifted people I have met in my time in the NFL.”
What type of work ethic is the Ex-49er bringing to Minnesota in Adofo-Mensah’s eyes?
“He is able to learn complex ideas, make them simple, and apply them in all facets of the organization. He has learned from some of the best minds in the game today and he will continue to flourish in his role with Vikings,” Adofo-Mensah said.
While the Vikings GM didn’t name off names regarding the “best minds” part, he’s most likely referring to head coach Kyle Shanahan as one of those minds. Shanahan, despite facing constant criticism for how he’s ran his offenses in the past, has still been regarded as a significant quarterback guru and run-game specialist.
Washington, though, was with the 49ers before Shanahan and Lynch came on board and shares a past connection with the Vikings’ GM.
Here’s where Robinson’s analytical background came into play:
He was responsible for using analytics for player evaluations, player acquisitions and strategy for the 49ers. Robinson first held down an analytics gig in 2015 — when Jim Tomsula took over as head coach of the 49ers following Jim Harbaugh. Adofo-Mensah was also on the 49ers’ staff in the same department during that period.
Robinson’s first NFL gig was as a game charter intern for the Cleveland Browns — a role he held from 2013 to 2015.
As for the former 49er Adofo-Mensah, he showed early signs of using analytics in his GM role per ESPN NFL reporter Kevin Seifert. The Vikings pulled off a league-high six trades during the 2022 NFL Draft, which got Seifert believing it’s “an early sign of the analytics process he is implementing in Minnesota.”
Robinson joined Ethan Waugh as former 49ers on the move. Waugh got hired by the Jacksonville Jaguars and former 49ers GM Trent Baalke on Monday, mentioned in this Heavy on 49ers story from Monday.