5 Under the Radar GM Candidates the Vikings Could Explore

Adrian Wilson announces his retirement after signing a contract with the Cardinals at the Cardinals’ Training Center in Tempe on April 18, 2015. Pni 0420 Cards Wilson 0420150948dp

The Minnesota Vikings announced early Monday morning that general manager Rick Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer had been fired and relieved of their duties with the organization. Spielman spent 16 years with the organization and, during his tenure, helped build one of the league’s most talented rosters year after year.

The Wilfs have cleaned up the house and will now be heading in a different direction and, more importantly, looking for a fresh look to get the franchise back on track.

“We thought now was the time and place to make a change,” Wilf said at Monday’s press conference. “As difficult as it was a decision, we believe now is the time and place to go in a different direction to take us to the next level, which is where we all want to be.”

The Wilfs are expected to begin their search for a GM immediately, with their only contender being the Chicago Bears after sacking Ryan Pace and the New York Giants due to the announcement of Dave Gettleman’s retirement. Darren Wolfson of 5 EyeWitness News reported a few weeks ago that Vikings Ownership was likely considering minority applicants during their research if and when they leave Rick Spielman.

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah

Photo via BrownWire

Kwesi Adafo-Mensah was hired by Cleveland Browns general manager Andrew Berry after being poached from the San Francisco 49ers in May 2020. Adofo-Mensah, 32, is trained in the Ivy League with work experience in as a commodities trader and portfolio manager on Wall Street.

While in San Francisco, Adolfo-Mensah’s primary role was to be the Director of Football Research and Development to support the implementation of analytical methods for game strategy and player ratings. . Adafo-Mensah interviewed for the Carolina Panthers job last offseason and has already been asked to interview the Chicago Bears.

He’s a well-educated executive with a bachelor’s degree in economics from Princeton and a master’s degree in economics from Stanford. If Minnesota doesn’t act quickly, Adafo-Mensah could be the one to run away.

Adrien wilson

Arizona Cardinals Professional Scouting Vice President

Adrian Wilson, your "Vice President of Business"
Photo via Arizona Cardinals website

Adrian Wilson, 42, is in his seventh season with the Arizona Cardinals recruiting department and is in his first season as vice president of professional staff. Prior to being promoted, Wilson spent the last two seasons as professional recruiting director. When Wilson was first hired in 2015, he spent four seasons helping professional and college scouts make their way to the front office.

Wilson’s current role is to oversee professional scouting staff and oversee all professional player scoring, the advanced scouting process, and free agency. It should be noted that it also helps with university research, evaluations of all students in the junior class, and cross-checking of the best draft candidates.

Since joining the front office in 2015, Wilson has helped Arizona attract a ton of professional talent. He’s been involved in draft picks such as Budda Baker, Christian Kirk, Kyler Murray, Byron Murphy, Isaiah Simmons, Zaven Collins and Rondale Moore. To go along with an impressive resume project, Wilson helped land future Hall of Fame members JJ Watt and AJ Green via free agency.

Brandon Brown

Philadelphia Eagles Director of Player Personnel

Brandon Brown
Photo via Philadelphia Eagles website

Brandon Brown is currently in his fifth season with the Philadelphia Eagles and his seventh season in the league. Brown was promoted to Director of Professional Scouting in the 2021 offseason. Prior to taking the job in Philadelphia, Brown spent two seasons with the Indianapolis Colts as an Assistant Boy Scout and Advanced Boy Scout.

As Director of Player Personnel, Brown oversees the Philadelphia Professional Scouting Department and works on the college scouting side with Ian Cunningham. Since working at the Philadelphia front office, he’s helped them build a Super Bowl-winning team and learned under the guidance of well-respected GM Howie Roseman.

If Minnesota decided to hire Brandon Brown, I think there might be a scenario where they choose to bring in Doug Pederson as their head coach due to their history in Philadelphia. Minnesota is looking for creativity and fresh eyes. Brown is an underrated candidate most teams could overlook.

Louis riddick

ESPN Analyst

ESPN "FMN" Analyst Louis Riddick has views on NFL GM's work - InsideHook
ESPN analyst Louis Riddick at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara

Louis Riddick has 13 years of experience in an NFL front office, and most of his experience comes from the scout side, with no experience in day-to-day operations. After his NFL playing days were over, Riddick joined the Washington Redskins as a professional recruiter, and after four seasons he was promoted to director of player personnel. After spending three seasons in this role, he left and joined the Philadelphia Eagles front office.

Riddick lasted four seasons as a personnel manager in Philadelphia before finally leaving for ESPN in 2013. He appeared on ESPN First Take, Get Up, and most recently, the Monday Night Football team. He brings a lot of knowledge from the perspective of players and managers and has a very intelligent NFL mind.

Louis Riddick has become a legitimate candidate over the past few years, and it’s quite strange that he still hasn’t landed a job with his resume. If Minnesota hired Riddick it would look like a “splash.” He’s highly respected in the league, and it’s only a matter of time until an organization realizes it. The question is, will Minnesota pull the trigger?

Rick smith

Former CEO of Texans

Texans general manager Rick Smith takes his leave
Houston Texans general manager Rick Smith watches the end of the Texans 22-13 season ending the loss to the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday, December 31, 2017, in Indianapolis. (Brett Coomer / Houston Chronicle) Brett Coomer / staff

Rick Smith might be the most interesting name on the nominee list since taking leave of absence from the Houston Texans in 2017 after his wife Tiffany was diagnosed with breast cancer and sadly passed away in January 2019. He has Smith has been reported to be interested in returning to the game, and he recently interviewed for the Denver Broncos job in January 2020. Smith was also the lead contender and favorite for the Atlanta Falcons job last offseason.

If Smith is indeed planning to make a comeback, he could be the best candidate available this offseason. Minnesota is the perfect destination for Smith, and he won’t be returning to pick up a team that needs a complete roster overhaul. The Minnesota roster is great for Smith as it’s not a total disaster, and they can still compete next year and maybe more with the good guy leading the shots.

Smith has an exceptional resume and has helped build an impressive Houston Texans roster over the years, which has included Deshaun Watson, JJ Watt, Brian Cushing, DeAndre Hopkins, Brandon Brooks, Jadeveon Clowney, Will Fuller, DJ Reed and Duane Brown. Smith would bring stability to Minnesota, and his track record confirms that. He has an eye for talent and has also made some insightful free agent signings and trades in recent years.

If Minnesota decides to hire Smith, who maybe knows, Deshaun Watson will give up his no-trade clause and Smith can close a Watson-Minnesota swap? Anything is possible with the right manager, and Smith would be a great hire for a list that isn’t as far off as it looks to many eyes.

Anthony Barr looks like a man saying goodbye

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