When the Minnesota Vikings hired Kwesi Adofo-Mensah as their new general manager, they did so with full confidence he could get them to the podium to hoist a Lombardi Trophy in the near future. The 40-year-old didn't waste any time in constructing/reforming the roster in a way that he believes gives the Vikings the best chance to win and, albeit to the chagrin on some outside of the organization, that included putting more money on the table for quarterback Kirk Cousins.
Cousins, who had already signed a then-historic fully guaranteed deal (the first of its kind) to join the Vikings in 2018, was awarded a one-year, $35 million deal this offseason that is again fully guaranteed, keeping him in tow through the 2023 season. There were rumblings that Cousins' time in Minnesota might have been nearing its end, but not so much.
And, for his part, Adofo-Mensah explains the decision to keep the three-time Pro Bowler in the purple and white.
"I'll be frank," he told USA Today ahead of 2022 training camp. "The one asset where you get nervous about not burning it down is quarterback."
It should come as no surprise to anyone that an incoming GM would take pause before jettisoning their incumbent QB because, after all, it's quite literally the most important position in the sport. And while Cousins is often maligned for being unable to get the Vikings back to the promised land in February, he's still capable of putting up numbers --. So, yes, Adofo-Mensah does view Cousins as a "good quarterback" in the NFL but, without attempting to cast shade in his QB's direction, while also admitting what many should view as the glaring obvious.
"We don't have Tom Brady," Adofo-Mensah said, and "We don't have Pat[rick] Mahomes. "[The Super Bowl] is more likely to win if you have that quarterback. It's very unlikely to have that quarterback."
It's actually a refreshing stance, in that it's true, when you view the odds of any team ever getting their hands on generational talent like Mahomes or ever seeing their QB help lead them to six Super Bowl wins in one city and a seventh in another (hi, Tom). But if you're asking if Adofo-Mensah feels Cousins can get the job done, even if not to the level of the aforementioned Mahomes and Brady?
Yes, he does, and he's not the only standing on that hill -- the other being former Vikings linebacker Ben Leber. Leberlay in the fact former head coach Mike Zimmer had a problem with him, in that he didn't like his own quarterback.
"I think he's gonna finally thrive, really thrive, in a system and a coach that actually respects him," Leber said recently. "I mean, It's not like I'm not breaking news here that Mike Zimmer did not like Kirk Cousins. And I think that showed in the way that Kirk behaved and the way that he carried himself. The team was never given to him, or he was never allowed to earn the trust of the team, because the head coach I think just didn't like him."
New head coach Kevin O'Connell is now tasked with proving Leber and Adofo-Mensah correct -- along with Cousins himself.