New Vikings General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah's path to Minnesota breaks the mold for NFL front office hires. Here's a brief look at the 40-year-old's unconventional climb to his new position.
Adofo-Mensah, from Cherry Hill, N.J., walked onto the Princeton basketball team and played for the junior varsity squad under then-assistant coach Mike Brennan. The 2003 graduate was a self-described "practice squad" player while earning a bachelor's degree in economics.
He took his talents to Wall Street, starting out as an analyst for Morgan Stanley and trading associate for JPMorgan Chase. From 2008-2010, he traded energy derivatives as an Executive Director in the Credit Suisse Commodities Proprietary Group. He left in 2011 to join former Credit Suisse executive Beau Taylor's hedge fund, Taylor Woods Capital. For less than a year, Adofo-Mensah was an Associate Portfolio Manager at Taylor Woods Capital.
He left Wall Street in the fall of 2011 to pursue a master's degree in economics at Stanford. He'd remain in the Bay Area to start his NFL career.
San Francisco 49ers
His first NFL job came in 2013 as a research and development analyst for an evolving 49ers front office. He did that for four years until a GM change, from Trent Baalke to John Lynch, prompted the expansion of the data department and a promotion to manager. His title became director for his last two 49ers seasons in 2018 and 2019. "I came into San Francisco kind of as a tabula rasa, a clean slate, and just learned from those guys and learned the methodology that they use," Adofo-Mensah told Cleveland reporters in June 2020. "Ultimately, you are just making decisions under uncertainty, and there are certain things that carry over across those fields."
Adofo-Mensah was hired in 2020 to become the Browns' vice president of player personnel, replacing the outgoing Eliot Wolf under new General Manager Andrew Berry, whom Adofo-Mensah has said he met in an elevator at the NFL scouting combine. "Another voice in the room," Adofo-Mensah told Cleveland reporters about his role. "Because of my background, with the more quantitative side and now really breaching over to the traditional [scouting] side, I am able to provide perspective that not everybody has. I can communicate to our scouts, 'Hey, these are the types of things we see on the mathematical side, and this is why you see it on the field.'"
In January 2022, Adofo-Mensah is hired to replace Rick Spielman, becoming the Vikings' first Black general manager since former head coach Dennis Green held the responsibilities at the end of his tenure.