Vikings “Hot Seat” Takes Are a Little Dramatic

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The Minnesota Vikings are expected to draft a quarterback of the future in two days, a grand crescendo to an offseason stuffed with change.

Vikings “Hot Seat” Takes Are a Little Dramatic

And according to some, the team’s leaders are firmly on the hot seat, even though the franchise has professed a “competitive rebuild” two years running.

Minnesota General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah addressed the media about the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft from the TCO Performance Center. The Vikings have long-term draft needs at quarterback, cornerback, and interior offensive line.

The latest was The Athletic, and that outfit wasn’t shy — not one bit — about plopping general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah on the hot seat. Dianna Russini opined, “I have a list of five GM’s who I believe need to nail this draft for their own job security and, more importantly, their team’s future. This Wednesday, my column will go live. But I’ll give you an exclusive here: The GM under the most pressure in this draft is the Vikings’ Kwesi Adofo-Mensah.”

Adofo-Mensah joined Minnesota as the top boss a bit over two years ago, and every step of the way, he’s insisted the team would “live in both worlds” of competing and rebuilding the roster on the fly. In conjunction with the Vikings ownership group, his goal was to thread the team-building needle.

Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports | Jan 8, 2024; Houston, TX, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) celebrates after winning 2024 College Football Playoff national championship game against the Washington Huskies at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports.

“Three years into his regime, his Vikings are 20-14 but without a playoff win. After letting Kirk Cousins walk — despite his head coach’s public desire to keep the QB — Adofo-Mensah is running out of time. This might be the best opportunity he has to add a franchise-altering passer. I expect the Vikings to do everything they can do move up on Thursday to get their guy,” Russini concluded.

While Russini’s comments are fair and actually make sense, this is the way Minnesota drew it up. Offloading Kirk Cousins six weeks ago always came with a risk, and Minnesota has arrived at the here and now to prepare for life without him. Of course, there is pressure to nail the rookie quarterback selection — when is there not?

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On Kevin O’Connell’s “public desire to keep” Cousins, well, that wasn’t an open-and-shut situation. O’Connell said in March, “Everybody knows how myself, Kwesi, this organization feels about Kirk and, you know, sometimes things just don’t work out. And I think the most important thing is that alignment and the understanding that our plan is in place, you know, crazy to use the word contingency plans, but those are all discussions and paths and avenues we can take out a very, very important position, no doubt but in the end, you know, as much as I would have maybe like to have courage to do the right thing, moving forward for our team is where we are today.”

Any notion that O’Connell was ever “woe is me” about losing Cousins was drummed up for effect. In fact, O’Connell, at times, seems giddy about scouting the quarterback of the future.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Any general manager sitting on the brink of drafting a 1st-Round quarterback experiences elevated stakes and suspect job security if the draft pick is bust. Adofo-Mensah is really no different.

Suggesting his seat is warmer than most doesn’t make any sense — especially after the Vikings have the NFL’s ninth-best record on his watch while he rebuilds the depth chart.

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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