Vikings surprises ahead as Adofo-Mensah settles into GM role
August 19, 2021; Thousand Oaks, California, USA; Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell attends a joint practice against the Las Vegas Raiders. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee – USA TODAY Sports
The GM view:
As the Bengals and Rams begin preparations for the Super Bowl after another terrific playoff weekend, the Vikings are halfway to selecting their new football management team.
After announcing Kwesi Adofo-Mensah as the new general manager and reviewing his impressive academic background (educated at Princeton) and his NFL journey in San Francisco and Cleveland, my thoughts turned to the ‘One of my favourite movies.
There was a great scene in Zero Dark Thirty – the film about the search and murder of terrorist leader Osama bin Laden – in which the CIA director played by James Gandolfini asks his assistant what he thinks of the woman ( played by Jessica Chastain) who leads the manhunt.
“I think she’s really smart,” the assistant said. To which Gandolfini replies: “We are all intelligent. What he means, of course, is: can she do the job and find Bin Laden?
Adofo-Mensah is clearly very smart and was very impressive during his introductory press conference where he spoke about his goal of creating a collaborative and consensual management group, including his new head coach.
But ultimately the GM has to make the final call on his staff members, draft picks, free agent signings, salary cap management, quarterback decisions (starting with restructuring or trading Kirk Cousins) and other current key Vikings players such as Danielle Hunter and a host of other items.
Team owners Zygi and Mark Wilf will also give Adofo-Mensah a major input on the new coach hire which is expected to take place this week.
All of Adofo-Mensah’s work with the 49ers and Browns in their field of analysis and research and assisting the scouting department can prepare him for this huge increase in responsibility. Or it may not work – time will tell and the truth is we won’t really know how effective it is as a GM for another 1-3 years.
The Coaching Search – a surprise hire?
With the news that the Vikings have had exploratory conversations with Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh (formerly highly successful as head coach of the 49ers where he worked with Adofo-Mensah), it’s possible the next coach The Vikings’ leader came as a surprise at least in terms of the initial group of eight coaches who were interviewed, a list that did not include Harbaugh or the Giants’ respected defensive coordinator Patrick Graham.
Several of the coaches already interviewed remain available but on the list that has been made public, Harbaugh is the biggest name. Whether he’s leaving a high-paying position at a prestigious university after having just completed an excellent season as a participant in the college football playoffs is debatable. But apparently there is some interest from Harbaugh, 58, in returning to the NFL where he went 49-22-1 in four seasons, including three NFC title game appearances and one loss. three-pointer in the Super Bowl against his brother John’s Ravens. team in the 2012 season.
While I’m impressed with 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans (who had a first interview and is now available for a second interview) and I’ve heard good things about Graham and Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris with coordinator Bucs defensive Todd Bowles, I still approve of the idea of hiring a head coach with an offensive past where Harbaugh fits the bill with Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell (but it’s still Sean McVay who is the Rams point guard when we know Harbaugh has done it all as a confirmed head coach).
Cinderella Bengals vs. All-in Rams
It’s a thrilling Super Bowl game for the upstart Bengals led by exceptional and super-balanced second-year QB Joe Burrow, Justin Jefferson’s exceptional receiver at LSU Ja’Marr Chase and an underrated defense against the Rams who put all their chips on the table. over the past two seasons by trading several high draft picks for players such as QB Matthew Stafford, cornerback Jalen Ramsey and point carrier Von Miller while paying big bucks for free agent players such as the receiver Odell Beckham and linebacker Leonard Floyd.
Cincinnati’s surprising rally from an 18-point deficit to beat the two-time defending AFC champion Chiefs in KC was quite the feat. And the Rams finally killed their nemesis San Francisco who had beaten them six times in a row.
Both games were decided by three runs, continuing the trend of single-scoring Divisional Round games. What a great post-season that will hopefully continue with an exciting Super Bowl on Feb. 13 in LA
And for Purple fans looking for a silver lining in that Super Bowl game, remember the Vikings probably would have beaten the Bengals in the season opener in Cincy had it not been for Dalvin’s overtime fumbling. Cook (and he might well have been shot by contact when he fumbled). Minnesota also had a good chance of beating the Rams at US Bank Stadium in Week 16 before falling 30-23 in part due to several questionable referee calls (including Cam Dantzler’s side strip of Cooper Kupp who was taken down and a block in the back that was not called on the Rams TD punt return) no more poor defensive coverage decisions against Kupp with single coverage by a lunge corner instead of doubling Kupp with Patrick Peterson and Harrison Smith.
Jeff Diamond is a former Vikings general manager, former president of the Tennessee Titans and was selected NFL Executive of the Year after the Vikings’ 15-1 season in 1998. He now works for the Minneapolis-based NFL IFA agent group and does other sports and media tips. work with college/business speaking. Follow and direct message him on Twitter–@jeffdiamondnfl