Vikings Praised for Unsung Trait

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah & Kevin O’Connell Talk Free Agent Moves, Future at Quarterback & 2023 NFL Draft in Eagan, Minnesota, on April 13th, 2023. Adofo-Mensah and O'Connell joined the organization in January and February 2022, respectively.

The Minnesota Vikings committed to transformational reform this offseason, cutting ties with veterans like Adam Thielen, Dalvin Cook, Eric Kendricks, and Patrick Peterson, among others, in favor of youthful and affordable talent.

Vikings Praised for Unsung Trait

The task was daunting, and general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has seemed to thread the needle, at least on paper, in accordance with his ‘competitive rebuild’ philosophy.

Vikings Praised
Dec 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah looks on before the game against the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Along the way, Adofo-Mensah implemented and mastered an unsung team trait — the treatment of peopleaccording to’s Albert Breer.

Breer toured the Vikings operations this summer, and one of his takeaways leaguewide was Minnesota’s commitment to honesty and forthrightness involving the player(s). Breer explained this week, “Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell deserve credit for their handling of veteran players this offseason. The Vikings’ GM and coach knew full well coming out of last year’s 13–4 campaign that some financial house-cleaning was coming. We dove into that back in June, and it’s taken discipline to stick to the plan after the success those guys had with last year’s group. I think what’s gotten them through all of this is pretty simple: It’s how they’ve treated people.”

Dec 4, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell and linebacker William Kwenkeu (47) react after the game against the New York Jets at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Adofo-Mensah and O’Connell won 13 games together during their maiden voyage but had to figure out a path for improvement amid a sketchy salary cap situation that the pairing inherited 19 months ago. And per Breer, it’s so far, so good.

“The Vikings were up front in what they were willing to do with the player and allowed the player to explore his value elsewhere, if he wanted to. It led to a few guys winding up gone in March (Kendricks, Thielen, Peterson). It led to another coming back on a reduced contract (Smith). It led to more of a dragged-out process in a couple of other cases (Hunter, Cook). And in the end, just two of the six guys I listed are still around — Hunter worked out a raise that was agreed to over the weekend,” Breer continued.

One Viking Totally
Sep 19, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter (99) following the game against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports.

Hunter rejoined the Vikings last weekend for one year and $17 million.

Breer concluded, “But the long-term benefit, to me, is significant. Young foundation pieces such as Justin Jefferson and Christian Darrisaw, who’ll soon be playing on massive contracts, saw the way the organization treated respected veterans who were on the back nine of their careers and may not have quite fit into the coach and GM’s plans the same way they did under the previous regime. And the respect those older vets got, I’d bet, will resonate with the younger guys and engender investment and trust from them.”

Vikings Clearing Cap
Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah at the 2023 NFL Combine the Week of February 27th. The Vikings have the 23rd overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Breer’s musings merely confirm what Vikings fans believed and what Adofo-Mensah has preached since taking the big job. He genuinely cares about the people on his roster, explaining his modus operandi early in his Vikings tenure by vowing to change the culture.

The Vikings also ranked No. 1 this offseason according to NFLPA-generated ‘team report cards’ that evaluate culture, hospitality, facilities, etc.

For player treatment, Minnesota is one of the best spots in the NFL and maybe the best — demonstrated repeatedly via NFLPA rankings to Breer’s tour of the NFL.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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