by Jim Handrigan, Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

Calling it a new era, the Minnesota Vikings announced at a January 27 press conference that Kwesi Adofo-Mensah will take the reins as the new general manager.

“We are thrilled to welcome Kwesi to the Minnesota Vikings. His unique background, variety of strong football experiences, vision for success, and leadership presence immediately stood out to us,” Vikings Owner/President Mark Wilf said in a statement through the team. “Kwesi is naturally committed and driven to building the best teams through consensus building and the pursuit of information. We believe he will immediately make us better as a team and organization.”

Adofo-Mensuh’s previous NFL experience includes the Cleveland Browns, where he assisted GM Andrew Berry with managing the day-to-day operations. Before that, Adofo-Mensuh spent seven seasons in San Francisco working his way through the 49er ranks, eventually developing methods that played a central role in helping the 49ers capture the conference title in 2019.

Browns GM Berry spoke highly of Adofo-Mesuh, saying, “He’s a super, super-bright guy, and that comes across within the first two minutes that you meet him, and probably just as importantly, it’s just people skills.

“Then the other thing was just his breadth of understanding of the sport and football operations. So even though he had formally just led the 49ers’ research group, you could tell that he understood team building, people, relationships, and managerial skills at a much higher level.”

During his six seasons in the front office of the San Francisco 49ers, Adofo-Mensah said he learned from Hall of Fame coach Bill Walsh.  “Thoughtful and intentional. That’s kind of what I got from Bill Walsh. I don’t think there’s been anybody in the history of the sport that has been more thoughtful and intentional than him. The detail that he planned at practice and what he was trying to get out of it. Every letter of that organization had a reason why,” explained Adofo-Mensah. 

“I am extremely thankful to the Wilf family and the Vikings organization for giving me the opportunity to lead our football operations and join this respected franchise,” Adofo-Mensah continued.

“There is so much to appreciate about this organization—an existing nucleus of talent on the roster, top-notch facilities, passionate fans, and smart people throughout the building who are committed to winning. I look forward to partnering with our next head coach and our entire football operations staff to begin our work of bringing a Super Bowl to Vikings fans,” he said.

When asked about the search for a head coach to replace former coach Mike Zimmer, Adofo-Mensah stated that management was looking for “leadership” and someone “who is going to value the collective over the individual,” as well as a solid football foundation.

Adofo-Mensuh did not begin his career with the NFL. The Cherry Hill, New Jersey native first worked with Taylor Woods Capital Management, a property management company based in Connecticut. The next step in his career was as vice president/executive director at Credit Suisse, a global investment bank based in Switzerland.

The Athletic’s 40 under 40 included Adofo-Mensah as one of football’s youngest power brokers.

After graduating from Princeton University with a bachelor’s degree in economics, Adofo-Mensah later went on to receive his master’s degree in economics from Stanford University.

While Adofo-Mensah is being called the first Black general manager in the 61-year history of the Vikings, it’s helpful to recall that Coach Dennis Green, in his last two years with the Vikings, unofficially filled that role as de facto general manager.

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