Kwesi Adofo-Mensah Hints at Vikings’ Offseason Roster Plans
It’s worth questioning whether or not the Minnesota Vikings should push their offseason poker chips all-in over the next couple of months, in an effort to win as many games as possible in 2023-24.
But if you take insider reports and executive quotes at face value, it’s clear the Vikings are approaching this offseason with a win-now mentality. That will mean stretching a tight budget, moving money around and making smart, productive signings.
So when Kwesi Adofo-Mensah stepped up to the podium for his annual pre-combine press conference, media members prodded the Vikings’ general manager trying to find hints into what his plans are to shape and reconstruct this roster.
Of course, Kwesi wasn’t going to approach the microphone with a “keep/cut list” to show the masses. But he did give us a lot of insight into what his plans are, both in what he said and what he didn’t say.
Kirk Cousins is good enough.
The topic of Kirk Cousins’ future came up early, as expected. Will the Vikings extend Kirk or play him on his expiring contract for this season? How desperate is Kwesi to find the next quarterback for his football team?
Well, Adofo-Mensah was honest. He didn’t dub Cousins as “elite” or confess his love for the starting QB. Instead, he talked about two quarterback tiers. QBs who can help a team go to the Super Bowl and QBs who cannot. Kirk Cousins, the GM says, “meets that (Super Bowl) threshold, we know that”.
#Vikings GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah voiced his confidence in Kirk Cousins when asked about evaluating the QB position at the NFL Combine: pic.twitter.com/U4PmVjxpnf— vikesinsider (@vikesinsider) February 28, 2023
Recent reports from Tom Pelissero (NFL Network) say the Vikings will either sign Cousins long term or they will ride out the final year of his current deal. No more one-year extensions.
Justin Jefferson extension is high priority.
Technically, the Minnesota Vikings do not have to extend Justin Jefferson until next offseason. But Kwesi & Co aren’t going to wait for Earth to travel around the Sun one more time. Nah, the Vikings are ready to put JJ in purple for the foreseeable future ASAP and it’s clear that’ll be one of the first dominoes to fall this offseason.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Jefferson and Cousins’ extensions both happen in close time proximity to one another.
Listened to Vikings GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s combine presser from here in Minnesota. Highlights via thread:— Kevin Seifert (@SeifertESPN) February 28, 2023
1/No surprise, but he called a contract extension with Justin Jefferson a “high priority” and added: “I don’t want to be the Vikings’ GM without that guy on our team.”
Non-Committal on Dalvin Cook
When asked directly about Dalvin Cook’s future, Kwesi was non-committal. He stayed away from what Cook has provided the Vikings on the field, deciding instead to highlight the type of person Dalvin is.
Recently, reports have surfaced saying Cook is not willing to take the type of paycut he will have to if he wants to remain a Viking. On Monday, Cook’s agent took to Instagram to complain about how often his client gets the football with Kevin O’Connell scheming and play-calling the offense.
All signs point to a divorce coming between Cook and the Vikings.
2/ No direct answer when asked if he anticipated RB Dalvin Cook would remain on the roster. Noted “great player and great leader” but “in the NFL, you have a lot of constraints, salary cap different things, and we’re trying to figure out how we can operate in those things.”— Kevin Seifert (@SeifertESPN) February 28, 2023
Goodbye Eric Kendricks and Jordan Hicks
The easiest way for the Minnesota Vikings to find cap space and lose as little as possible on the field is at the middle linebacker position. Both of the team’s MLBs last season, Eric Kendricks and Jordan Hicks, played terribly last season.
Kendricks never appeared comfortable in a 3-4 scheme and Jordan Hicks provided little of the stability he was supposed to when signed prior to the season. If the Vikings move on from both players, they’d save about $15 million against the cap next season.
Kwesi made it obvious on Tuesday, by what he didn’t say, that both Kendricks and Hicks won’t be on roster much longer. When discussing the linebacker position, the Vikings GM mentioned Brian Asamoah, Troy Dye and Will Kwenkeu (who?) but never once mentioned Kendricks or Hicks.
When asked about the linebacker position at the NFL Combine, #Vikings GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah mentioned Brian Asamoah, Troy Dye, and even Will Kwenkeu.— vikesinsider (@vikesinsider) February 28, 2023
Not a word about Eric Kendricks or Jordan Hicks, who are both under contract for 2023. pic.twitter.com/jv0W26bBeK
Bring Tomlinson back, affinity for Flores
A couple other notes include the Vikings’ hopes to sign Dalvin Tomlinson to a contract extension. This isn’t a surprise, given the two sides agreed last week to move his void date from February to mid-March.
Kwesi was also asked about new defensive coordinator, Brian Flores, who he clearly has high hopes for.
Vikings GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah raved this morning about the Brian Flores hiring.— Alec Lewis (@alec_lewis) February 28, 2023
“He has a really extensive personnel background, so it’s not just about the players we draft this year or in free agency, it’s about reshaping our vision for the roster going forward.”
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan
(Featured Image: Dave Berding – Getty Images)