Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s Top 5 Achievements on 2-Year Anniversary

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The Minnesota Vikings hired Kwesi Adofo-Mensah on January 26, 2022, a couple of weeks after severing ties with former general manager Rick Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer.

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s Top 5 Achievements on 2-Year Anniversary

The young executive has formally been on the job for two years and has a 20-14 (.588) record to show for it. The Vikings now enter a pivotal offseason on Adofo-Mensah’s watch, needing to decide on the fate of the quarterback position while completing the roster overhaul. From the time Adofo-Mensah took over — two years ago today — Minnesota has just 11 players scheduled under contract for 2024. Almost quietly, Adofo-Mensah has totally transformed the depth chart, with QB1 as the high-profile constant.

So, on the man’s anniversary, these are the top five achievements of the last two years ranked in ascending order (No. 1 = top achievement).

5. Drafting Mekhi Blackmon

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Adofo-Mensah plucked Blackmon out of the draft’s 3rd Round last year, a steal of a deal for such a productive rookie. Before Blackmon, Minnesota had struggled annually with drafting cornerbacks, so much so that the last decent one occurred eight years ago with the selection of Trae Waynes. And if even Waynes didn’t quite live up to a 1st-Round pick.

Pro Football Focus called Blackmon the NFL’s 33rd-best corner in 2023, an impressive feat, considering about 96 cornerbacks receive full-time action on any given Sunday. Among 2023 rookie CBs, Blackmon ranked third per PFF, notably outpacing Joey Porter Jr., Deonte Banks, and Emmanuel Forbes, among oodles of others.

Perhaps the days of poor cornerback drafts can end.

4. Refusing to “Tank”

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If there was verifiable evidence that “tanking” worked in the NFL, well, every bad or quasi-mediocre team would do it. The problem, though, is that it doesn’t consistently work, and the result is usually akin to what the Cleveland Browns or New York Jets encountered for years.

Folks point to the Cincinnati Bengals playing poorly before Joe Burrow arrived and singularly used that as an example of tanking efficacy. But then that’s it. When else does tanking work? When has it led to a Super Bowl trophy in the last 15+ years? Good luck finding examples.

Adofo-Mensah defined his tanking policy to reporters at the 2023 NFL Combine, “People always talk about, ‘Just tank,’ and in this sport, I think it’s kind of unconscionable to do it for what these players put on the line for our sport.”

“I think when people look at teams, they can sometimes do it in a very binary way. They ask are you either all-in, or are you tearing it down and rebuilding? I don’t really look at the world that way. The way we look at it is we’re trying to navigate both worlds,” he added.

Tanking won’t happen on his watch.

3. Signing UDFA Ivan Pace Jr.

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Some Vikings fans actually debate whether Pace Jr. joining the Vikings was an Adofo-Mensah transaction. Imagine watching the 2023 NBA Finals with all the Miami Heat’s undrafted players and saying, “Well, these undrafted guys on the roster have nothing to do with Pat Riley.”

Pace Jr. joined the Vikings right after the draft last April, and the rest is history. He immediately became a starter and later earned a spot on Pro Football Writers of America’s All-Rookie team.

If one absolutely cannot give Adofo-Mensah credit for onboarding Pace Jr., at least acknowledge that it happened on his watch.

2. Trading for T.J. Hockenson

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Adofo-Mensah traded down two rounds in the 2023 NFL Draft and one round in this year’s event to land T.J. Hockenson on November 1st, 2022. The move fundamentally transformed the Vikings’ offense for the better and was a saving grace this season when Justin Jefferson fell injured.

Hockenson will remain a Viking for several years, and Adofo-Mensah’s low-cost trade was a triumph.

1. Drafting Jordan Addison

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Adam Thielen left, and Jordan Addison entered. Minnesota could’ve drafted a defensive player in the 1st Round last April — the club ranked 31st per yards allowed in 2022 — but it opted to get richer on offense. Then, it nailed the pick, selecting Addison from USC, and the young playmaker busted out as a rookie.

Eventually, the Vikings will draft a rookie quarterback, and that man will be equipped to succeed in an offense with Justin Jefferson, Addison, and Hockenson.

Vikings’ football will never be boring on the field with Jefferson, Addison, and Hockenson.

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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