Well, after interviewing all initial 8 candidates for the open GM spot, the Wilfs have decided they will bring in just two for final interviews. The two being, Ryan Poles (Chiefs Director of Player Personnel) and Kwesi Odofo-Mensah (Browns VP of Football Ops). They Wilfs are meaning business, knowing what they want, and going right after it.
Rather than doing a final four, then final two, they like these two enough to fly them up to Eagan headquarters and get the show on the road, as Poles and Kwesi, both in their own regards, are more than qualified for the position.
Poles is coming from the very successful franchise and front office, that is the Kansas City Chiefs, taking a more traditional path towards becoming a future GM in the NFL. Kwesi, on the other hand, has more of an unorthodox approach towards getting to that same goal, starting his career as a commodities broker and portfolio manager, before working in R&D for the 49ers.
Both options are extremely bright and young as well (Poles 36, Kwesi 40), a breakdown for each of them below:
Kwesi Adofo-Mensah – Cleveland Browns VP of Football Operations
- Adofo-Mensah is a former college basketball player who worked on Wall Street before getting his first NFL job with the 49ers in 2013.
- He worked at the top of the 49ers Research and Development from 2013-2019, before being snagged by the Browns in 2020.
- He’s been one of the top voices in the front office for Browns GM Andrew Berry. Adofo-Mensah, who has a background in analytics, interviewed for the Panthers’ GM opening last year.
- Some top draft picks that Kwesi has been closely tied to over his career:
- Nick Bosa, Soloman Thomas, Mike McGlinchey, Jedrick Wills, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and Greg Newsome II.
- Some other notable hits on players:
- 2nd: Grant Delpit, Deebo Samuel
- 3rd: Ahkello Witherspoon, Fred Warner
- 4th: Harrison Bryant
- 5th: Dre Greenlaw, George Kittle
- 6th: Donovan Peoples-Jones
- He’s incredibly smart, with a degree in economics from Princeton and a master’s from Stanford, and has an impressive NFL resume already.
Kwesi is highly regarded across the league and knows how to manage a football team, as stated by ESPN’s Kimberly A. Martin:
Kwesi Adofo-Mensah ISN’T *just* an✌🏾analytics guy✌🏾 …In CLE, he (and Glenn Cook) are viewed by GM Andrew Berry as asst GMs.— KimberlEY A. Martin (@ByKimberleyA) January 21, 2022
Kwesi A-M has scouting + contract management experience and helps AB w/ all big decisions. The dude *knows* football. #Vikings
Here is one example of why you should want Kwesi in charge of our Vikings for years to come:
“It takes talent to win in this league. It takes great coaching. It takes great development.” — VP of Football Operations Kwesi Adofo-Mensah pic.twitter.com/00V4uzL0Wi— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) June 12, 2020
Ryan Poles – Kansas City Chiefs Director of Player Personnel
- Poles has been with the Chiefs for the last 13 years and is a key part of GM Brett Veach’s front office.
- He has worked in and led college scouting for the Chiefs from 2008-2017, when they selected Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Justin Houston, Eric Fisher, Chris Jones, Tyreek Hill, Dontari Poe, and Eric Berry.
- Some other big hits from the last five drafts specifically (outside of Mahomes in 2017):
- 2nd: Juan Thornhill, Mecole Hardman, Nick Bolton, Creed Humphrey (Pro Bowl as Rookie)
- 3rd: Kareem Hunt
- 4th: LJ Sneed
- 6th: Rashad Fenton, Trey Smith
- The former Boston College offensive lineman (he blocked for Matt Ryan for several years in the mid-2000s) came up on the college scouting side but his role has broadened in recent years.
- He was a finalist for the Panthers job last year, as well as this year for the Giants job, before they went with Joe Schoen as their GM.
The Vikings were reported to have been very intrigued by Poles in his interview, stated by Courtney Cronin below:
Conversations I’ve had the last few days regarding Ryan Poles center on his grasp of the personnel evaluation/scouting process and how that’s impressed those who decided he should be a finalist. Mark Wilf said he doesn’t think the Vikings are in a rebuild and that they can field— Courtney Cronin (@CourtneyRCronin) January 21, 2022
advantage to doing things that way and having a GM with a heavy scouting background leading the charge on the football side. His philosophy is to build a roster through the draft, so that could play big to those who will be deciding the next GM.— Courtney Cronin (@CourtneyRCronin) January 21, 2022
In an interview before this season, Poles was asked what has led to his success and getting interviewed for GM openings:
…and identify what they want not only for a position group, but for the culture that Coach Reid wants, I think you’re on the right path. And I think you can do damage in terms of acquiring players that represent what you want to be as an organization.”— Will Ragatz (@WillRagatz) January 21, 2022
Until a decision has been made from the Wilfs and management, we can only speculate. It appears we should know who the next GM of the Vikings will be by the end of next week:
- Adofo-Mensah is expected to be in Minnesota on Tuesday, with Poles expected to be Wednesday, per sources.
Head Coach Vacancy Speculation
Of course, with this news, it narrows down who we might see as the next Vikings Head Coach a little bit. With the Wilfs having already brought in 8 candidates this week for the opening, the GM who is hired will most definitely want to bring in their own guy or guys for interviews.
The official interviewed list of HC’s this week:
- Raheem Morris – Rams DC
- Todd Bowles – Bucs DC
- Demeco Ryans – 49ers DC
- Nathaniel Hackett – Packers OC
- Dan Quinn – Cowboys DC
- Kevin O’Connell – Rams OC
- Kellen Moore – Cowboys OC
- Jonathan Gannon – Eagles DC
Names Tied to GM Candidates
Ryan Poles: Chiefs OC Eric Bienemy, former Chiefs OC and Eagles HC, Doug Pederson, and current Chiefs QB Coach, Mike Kafka, former Chiefs OC Brian Daboll, and Brian Flores from Boston College days (both played college football at BC).
Kwesi Adofo-Mensah: 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans.
Obviously, the GM and ownership can choose to interview someone who isn’t on any of these lists, but this just gives us some idea as to the direction we might be looking in. Keep an eye out on our Twitter @somedaysports for more updates in the coming days, as well as a podcast coming next week breaking down everything we have learned!
As always, SKOL!
Kevin Jacobs – Someday Sports
Follow me on Twitter @SomedaySKOLDIER