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Vikings GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah says hiring head coach will be ‘collaborative process’

The Vikings had virtual interviews with eight candidates for coach before Adofo-Mensah was hired.

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New Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah poses with a Minnesota Vikings helmet on Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022.
Courtesy of the Minnesota Vikings
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EAGAN, Minnesota — When the Minnesota Vikings fired general manager Rick Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer on Jan. 10, team owner and president Mark Wilf said a general manager would be hired first and have “input” on selecting a new coach. How much weight Kwesi Adofo-Mensah will have in the process will be seen soon.

After two years as Cleveland Browns vice president of football operations, Adofo-Mensah was hired Wednesday as Minnesota’s general manager, then introduced Thursday to the media. His most important immediate task is the search for Zimmer’s replacement.

The Vikings had virtual interviews with eight candidates for coach before Adofo-Mensah was hired. Now that he’s on the job, he was asked if he will make the final decision on the hire.

“Whether I say I make the decision or not, it’s going to be a collaborative process,” Adofo-Mensah said. “I’m always about different viewpoints, different ideas. … Any decision-making room I’m in, I’m always seeking the other opinion, trying to put everything together, then come out on the other end.”

Of the eight candidates to have initial interviews, two are off the table — Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, who was named Thursday to coach the Denver Broncos, and Dan Quinn, who has elected to remain Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator. That leaves Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon, Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell and San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans.

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Adofo-Mensah declined to speculate on whether the next coach is likely to come from that group or whether the field might be expanded.

“We’ve had some initial discussions,” he said. “We know what we want to find (in a coach). We want leadership, we want somebody who is going to value the collective over the individual, we want somebody who has a vision, who can communicate, who has a solid football foundation.”

Adofo-Mensah served in the 49ers’ front office from 2013-19. He worked from 2017-19 with Ryans, who was a quality control coach and then inside linebackers coach, and with O’Connell, a 49ers special projects assistant in 2016.

The 49ers face the Rams in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game for a berth in Super Bowl LVI on Feb. 13. The outcome of that game could affect the timing on how soon the Vikings name a coach.

When the Vikings hired Zimmer in January 2014, Spielman was given close to total control of the search. Spielman also had the final say as general manager over the roster.

It remains to be seen how much power Adofo-Mensah will have over the roster. He declined to say what specifics are in his contract but brought up how he plans to work with the head coach.

“I always say with a coach, a coach that I would work with, I would work for,” he said. “It’s somebody that I would want to partner with.”

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