Vikings GM Responds to Major Flaw on His Resume

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah took over from Rick Spielman in 2022, promising to overhaul the roster on the fly without entering a full rebuild. And through roughly two years, he has done everything he claimed he would do. The executive got rid of man expensive veterans (and all but a dozen players) and tried to replace them by adding younger players. Still, the Vikings have always remained competitive under his guidance.

Vikings GM Responds to Major Flaw on His Resume

In his first draft, despite working with the majority of Spielman’s staff, Vikings fans had high expectations, hoping for franchise-changing players. With some excellent players still on the board, Adofo-Mensah opted to trade with the Detroit Lions, a deal in the division, to add more draft capital.

Vikings GM Responds to Major Flaw on His Resume
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He passed on Kyle Hamilton, a 2023 first-team All-Pro. With the 32nd pick, he ultimately picked a player at the same position: Lewis Cine.

Well, that was a disaster. Overvaluing the extra draft capital, underrating Hamilton, and surely overrating Cine led to a catastrophic first pick in his career, followed by the selection of Andrew Booth in the second round, who also hasn’t lived up to the draft pedigree.

Through their first two seasons, neither of the top two picks has had a significant impact, and Vikings fans haven’t forgotten, mentioning the mistake over and over again.

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Adofo-Mensah was confronted with his blunder at the season-ending press conference when he was asked about the two young players:

Cine didn’t have a rookie year pretty much. He got the injury, and now he comes to learn a new defense with Brian Flores, so I think that has to be considered. Then, Andrew Booth, same thing, learning from a new defense, adjusting to this style of play. We are continuing to believe in our people, pour into them with our player development resources – all the things we have in this building – but, as I said earlier, it is a results business at the end of the day, and we will see where we end up.

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah

The GM hasn’t given up hope for his two prospects, and perhaps for good reason, as some players simply need more time, although it’s not looking that promising.

Cine’s story is quite complicated. He started his debut season behind sophomore Camryn Bynum and veteran Harrison Smith, but when Smith was forced to sit out a game, Josh Metellus slid into the starting role, raising questions about the rookie. It was as before Metellus showed everyone how good of a football player he really is. The costly draft pick accepted his role and contributed on special teams, earning praise from special teams coordinator Matt Daniels.

Lewis Cine Pitched a Shutout vs. Lions. And Not in a Good Way.
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And then, on one of his special teams snaps in London, Cine plunged to the ground with a broken leg that required surgery. His rookie season was over. Enter Brian Flores, who had begun to oversee the defense in Cine’s second season. New coaches, new chance. But the former Georgia Bulldog stayed behind the top three safeties and was surpassed by Theo Jackson and Jay Ward. He played a mere eight snaps on defense in his second year and was stuck on the inactive list for many weeks.

Booth also struggled with injuries, missing the majority of his rookie season. After Flores’ arrival, the cornerback dropped down the depth chart behind Byron Murphy, Akayleb Evans, and Mekhi Blackmon, but he still saw some action this season and played quite well.

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The duo has reached the halfway point of their four-year rookie contracts, and their story hasn’t yet been fully written. They will have a new chance to compete for roles and snaps in August’s training camp, and with Smith’s looming retirement and Evans’s end-of-season disaster, there is a realistic path to earn significant roles for both of them. However, it is an uphill climb to fulfill expectations at this point.

Adofo-Mensah deserves some benefit of the doubt, working with a scouting crew he hadn’t hired and finding some contributors along the way. Ed Ingram, Ty Chandler, and the previously mentioned Evans have played significant roles in their sophomore seasons. In addition, every GM misses on some picks; it was just unfortunate that he didn’t start his job with a homerun pick.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt