The Minnesota Vikings hired Cleveland Browns vice president of football operations Kwesi Adofo-Mensah to serve as the team's general manager, the team announced. The New Jersey native replaces Rick Spielman, who had spent 16 years within the organization, including 10 as general manager.
Adofo-Mensah had completed two interviews with Minnesota and one with Chicago prior to being hired. One of his first responsibilities will be to hire a head coach after the Vikings parted ways with Mike Zimmer.
The Princeton graduate completed his bachelor's degree in economics before receiving his master's degree from Stanford. In 2013, he was hired by San Francisco to serve as the team's manager of football research and development. He was there until accepting a position under Browns general manager Andrew Berry in 2020. Over the past two years, Adofo-Mensah has played an integral role in the rejuvenation of the Cleveland franchise. Following the team's first postseason victory since 1995, injuries derailed potential repeat production, and the season concluded with an 8-9 record.
Adofo-Mensah is regarded as an analytics-forward football executive but chooses to look at it from a more tangible angle.
"We are trying to win on the margins, and so we are trying to extricate every little winning possible advantage we can find across football operations and use the evidence to support that," he explained in 2020.
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Browns GM Andrew Berry expressed his excitement for the opportunity in a press release Wednesday.
"We are beyond excited that Kwesi has been named General Manager of the Minnesota Vikings," Berry said. "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. These same characteristics will make him an exceptional leader, problem-solver and roster architect for the Vikings."
Head coach Kevin Stefanski, who had been within Minnesota's organization from 2006-2019, believes that Adofo-Mensah will institute a process that leads to sustained success.
"I've enjoyed getting to know Kwesi and working with him for the last two years. 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."
Minnesota had narrowed its search to Kansas City Chiefs executive director of player personnel Ryan Poles -- who was hired as the Bears' new GM -- and Adofo-Mensah. They had also considered Eagles director of player personnel Brandon Brown, Browns vice president of player personnel Glenn Cook, Eagles vice president of football operations Catherine Raiche, Patriots front office consultant Eliot Wolf and Buccaneers vice president of player personnel John Spytek for the opening.
The NFL now has seven Black general managers: Chris Grier (Miami), Brad Holmes (Detroit), Martin Mayhew (Washington), Terry Fontenot (Atlanta), Berry, Poles and Adofo-Mensah. As a result of a new rule to encourage minority hires instituted by the NFL in 2020, the Browns will receive compensatory third-round selections in each of the next two drafts.
The Vikings are the third team to hire a new general manager this offseason joining the Giants (Bills assistant general manager Joe Schoen) and the Bears (Poles). The Raiders are the only remaining team with a vacancy.