5 Clues from Kwesi Adofo-Mensah about Vikings Draft

The Best Free Agent Vikings Can Still Land
Kwesi Adofo-Mensah

The Minnesota Vikings have five picks on Thursday night during the 2023 NFL Draft, with roster needs consisting of cornerback, off-ball linebacker, interior defensive line, and arguably quarterback + wide receiver.

This year’s draft — Round 1, especially — is a supreme mystery for Vikings fans, and everyone has a theory about what general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah will do in a few days.

5 Clues from Kwesi Adofo-Mensah about Vikings Draft

Accordingly, to better shape your draft predictions, these are five clues from Adofo-Mensah from his brief Vikings history and resume with former teams.

1. The QB Speech

5 Clues from Kwesi
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.

At the Vikings pre-draft press conference 10 days ago, Adofo-Mensah said about having a QB1 successor in the building, “Ideally, you probably would want to have a year to have the person in the building or something like that, but I don’t know if that’s necessary.”

Then, a couple of minutes later, head coach Kevin O’Connell basically said the same thing, “Ideally, you would love to have that person in that role developing behind a great player like Kirk, but I don’t think you ever sacrifice it being the right player.”

“Regardless of the when, the where, the why, the how, you can’t sacrifice that. Cause you have to have ultra-belief and connection on making that decision cause it is such an important decision,” O’Connell concluded.

These quotes do two things: a) Confirm drafting a quarterback is on the Vikings leadership’s brain b) Don’t require it in 2023 as mandatory.

Whether Minnesota drafts a quarterback anywhere in the draft is one of the meatiest items to watch this week.

2. The Defensive Line Precedent

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports.

While Kwesi Adofo-Mensah was employed in San Francisco for eight drafts, the 49ers drafted six defensive linemen — by far the most of any position in the first two rounds.

Adofo-Mensah was reared in a system that prioritizes the trenches, and the Vikings didn’t really do that in last year’s draft, at least not on defense.

If you believe in the 49ers past draft habits, where Adofo-Mensah was raised as an NFL executive, a defensive tackle or EDGE rusher will probably be the team’s first or second pick of the event.

3. The WR Precedent

49ers WR Not Impressed by Vikings Joint Practices
Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports.

This one pales in comparison to the defensive lineman speech above.

In San Francisco’s front office for those eight drafts, Adofo-Mensah’s 49ers drafted three wide receivers in Rounds 1-2 from 2013 to 2020 — Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and Dante Pettis. Minnesota arguably needs a wideout or two, especially if it isn’t sold on K.J. Osborn as the 2023 WR2.

Aiyuk was the only 1st-Rounder in the eight drafts.

Based on Adofo-Mensah’s past, WRs are typically unearthed from the draft after Round 2.

4. The Trades — All of the Trades

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.

Adofo-Mensah traded more than any person anywhere during last year’s draft. There is no reason to believe he’ll suddenly stop.

Moreover, the Vikings have only five picks heading into the event, and the easiest way to nudge that number north is by trading his 23rd overall pick. He controversially used the strategy last year by trading the No. 12 pick to the Detroit Lions.

It’s a safe bet that Minnesota’s general manager will once again trade like it’s going out of style.

5. No Early-Round QBs — Like Ever

These 5 QBs Could
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Same parameters — from 2013 to 2020 with San Francisco, the 49ers, with Adofo-Mensah in the war room, didn’t draft any quarterbacks in Rounds 1 or 2. They employed Colin Kaepernick and Jimmy Garoppolo for most of Adofo-Mensah’s tenure, perhaps explaining why the club didn’t choose any with high-round draft capital.

If Adofo-Mensah drafts a quarterback in Rounds 1 or 2, it’ll be his first as a member of the 49ers, Browns, or Vikings front offices.


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,’ and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.

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