Kwesi Adofo-Mensah Goes Full Football Nerd in USA Today Feature

PHOTO: ANTHONY SOUFFLÉ, STAR TRIBUNE

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah was hired as the general manager of the Minnesota Vikings for a lot of different reasons. But really, the Wilfs wanted the Vikings to enter the new age of sports analytics. So, they went out and hired the biggest nerd on the market.

Vikings owners are hoping KAM’s big brain and unique background in economics, combined with his lifelong love for sports, will give the 41-year-old a forward-thinking viewpoint from the top of an organization.

USA Today’s deep dive on KAM

On Monday morning, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah was featured in a full-page print article in the USA Today. In the piece, Adofo-Mensah details his views on football and how he plans to build a super bowl caliber team. Kwesi also gets into why he held onto Kirk Cousins and other veterans, instead of hitting the roster reset button.

This is my favorite Kwesi Adofo-Mensah feature yet. I love the personality and confidence projected in the piece. After reading it, there’s no questioning who has the biggest brain at TCO Performance Center. It’s Kwesi, and anybody who interacts with the new Vikings GM, feels it.

Confident Football Nerd

But it’s rare that the biggest nerd in the room also commands the biggest presence. And that’s where Kwesi Adofo-Mensah appears to set himself apart. He exudes confidence and it spills from this article. He calls himself the best mathematician in the league, but believes he can sit down and talk football with any player, any coach or any executive.

“On the math side, I hope it’s not going to sound arrogant, but I speak that better than any other GM,” Adofo-Mensah said. “I don’t know that I speak (football) better than them, but my worst thing is probably better than their worst thing. You know what I mean? So I think my ability to communicate in really every room in the football building makes me unique. Kwesi Adofo-Mensah (via USA Today)

Also within the piece, Patrick Peterson calls Kwesi Adofo-Mensah an ‘intelligent, well-rounded mad scientist‘. O’Connell called him the “smartest guy in the room who never makes you feel like it“. It’s KAM’s ability to blend football guy and nerd that makes him so impressive.

Kwesi on Kirk and Super Bowls

This isn’t breaking news. Your odds of being a legitimate super bowl contender goes way up if you have an elite quarterback, something Kwesi Adofo-Mensah admits the Minnesota Vikings do not have. Kirk Cousins isn’t Tom Brady or Patrick Mahomes, KAM admits,

So if we don’t have that type of quarterback, why did the Vikings sign Kirk Cousins to a contract extension? Because “burning it down” at the QB position makes him nervous. Everyone would love to have Patrick Mahomes, but there’s a reason why most don’t.

“I’ll be frank,” he told USA TODAY Sports during a sit-down at his office conference table. “The one asset where you get nervous about not burning it down is quarterback.”Kwesi Adofo-Mensah (via USA Today)

“(The Super Bowl) is more likely to win if you have that quarterback,” Adofo-Mensah said. “It’s very unlikely to have that quarterback.”Kwesi Adofo-Mensah (via USA Today)

Great Gamble

I’ve liked the Kwesi Adofo-Mensah hire more and more as time has gone on, a trend that’s common before games are actually played. But this USA Today feature bumped my confidence to an all-time high. KAM’s combination of confidence, extreme nerdery and ability to speak football are traits that should logically lead to success.

Nothing is guaranteed in the sports world. But if we look at the Adofo-Mensah hire, in the same way Kwesi does when he attacks personnel decisions, the logic is there. Analytically driven nerds are finding better ways to win football games. And the Vikings believe they’ve found the best and most talented nerd of them all.

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s old boss with the Cleveland Browns, Andrew Berry, agrees.

Adofo-Mensah’s talent threshold philosophies wowed Browns general manager Andrew Berry in a 2020 interview. Adofo-Mensah had modeled, Berry told USA TODAY Sports, roster construction of NFL teams that recently advanced to the NFL playoff divisional round. How many All-Pro, Pro Bowl and starting-caliber players did the final eight clubs have each year? How did talent at different positions bolster a team’s “nontrivial chance” at a Super Bowl title, and was a certain caliber at any position non-negotiable? If so, how determinately could a team predict the caliber of a prospect anyway?Jori Epstein (USA Today)

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan