Lol, every team should feel embarrassed that they don’t have Kwesi Adofo-Mensah at the helm of their organization.
He had to make some tough decisions, but the Vikings’ second year general manager is starting to build a new version of the Minnesota Vikings that he always saw. Kwesi is like the guy you think is skinny, but when you eventually see him without a shirt on, he’s actually jacked.
By that I mean that last year, he played it safe, signing Jordan Hicks and ZaDarius Smith in free agency, and having a pretty subpar draft. Over the past year, Kwesi has been making some pretty big splashes within the Vikings organization.
By making savvy moves like trading for T.J. Hockenson, cutting Adam Thielen and Eric Kendricks, and restructuring the contract of Kirk Cousins, Kwesi has begun to make his mark on the team and clear cap space to sign new free agents that will lead to the Vikings becoming top tier contenders, or suck. Only time will tell.
In the time since Thielen, Kendricks and Dantzler were cut, a few moves have been made.
The first domino to fall in the 2023 offseason for Kwesi and the Jockstrap Cowboys was the signing of TE Josh Oliver. Oliver was signed to a three year, $21 million contract with $10.7 million guaranteed.
Oliver is a 25 year old Tight End who has spent the last two seasons with the Baltimore Ravens after spending his rookie year with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Despite only having 230 receiving yards and two touchdowns in his entire career, Oliver got a big payday. Why?
Well, Oliver is a better blocker than Penei Sewell, who caught a pass against the Vikings last season, and Sewell is an offensive tackle. Oliver also posted a 71.5 overall grade on Pro Football Focus, which landed him as the eighth best tight end in the league, two spots behind Hock.
Oliver’s blocking ability makes him a dual threat that will really open up the Vikings’ offense. If and when he is in the game, the Vikings can play smash mouth football with whoever the running back is. When the opposing defense brings in a heavier set to deal with essentially a sixth offensive lineman, the Vikings can then blow the top off with Kirk and Jefferson, as the defense will have had to switch out of their nickel package, making it tougher to guard their play action and passing game in general.
That’s enough nerd shit. You will just have to see.
The second signing KAM made was signing OLB Marcus Davenport away from the Saints. Davenport is entering his sixth year in the league at 26 years old, and is coming off of a relative down year, posting just half a sack in 15 games played. That is why he only received a one year, $13 million prove-it deal from the Vikings.
Davenport has 21.5 career sacks, but on the Vikings, playing in Brian Flores’ scheme and rushing alongside Danielle Hunter, Davenport will top 10 sacks, at least. Another thing I like about Davenport is that with his arrival, it likely means the departure of Za’darius Smith, who should have some good trade value.
Some lowkey re-signings that you may not have heard of include re-signing Pro Bowl LS Andrew DePaola to a three year, $4 million contract. K Greg Joseph was re-signed to a one year deal, because Kwesi also hates us as much as he loves us. TE Ben Ellefson, EDGE Kenny Willekes, and QB Nick Mullens were re-signed to play backup roles.
But the two major re-signings are C Garrett Bradbury and RB Alexander Mattison. The Bradburger has pissed me off for many years now, but last season he showed a lot of promise and improvement to warrant a new contract. His three year contract extension is worth up to $15.75 million, and that is a steal of a contract for someone like him. Mattison’s extension was announced Wednesday night as a two year, $7 million deal that will come in handy if Dalvin Cook is dealt in the coming days, which he very well could be.
With all of these signings, I believe that Kwesi’s true shining moment comes in the acquisition of former Cardinals CB Byron Murphy Jr., who was signed to a two year, $22 million deal Tuesday night.
Murphy was the 33rd pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, and has been unfairly punished by having to play for the Arizona Retirement Homes. In the pit of death, he has been a bright spot, and you may know him from his game-winning fumble return touchdown against the Las Vegas Raiders this season.
Murphy has primarily played in the slot in his career, but when matched up against elite receivers such as Justin Jefferson, Davante Adams and Cooper Kupp, he allowed just four catches for 27 yards and a touchdown. Make no mistake, Murphy is the real deal, and the Vikings got him for a BARGAIN.
As Kwesi continues to create a new version of the Vikings, I can say that I believe in him and trust in him to lead us to another great few years where maybe we have some playoff success and I don’t have to hide on Twitter. There is still a lot more to be done this offseason, and I am so excited to continue to watch it all unfold. Skol.
Write to Hayden Lee at Hayden.Lee@my.smsu.edu