As their search for a GM narrows, it appears the Minnesota Vikings are going towards a youth movement.
Heading into the weekend, the Minnesota Vikings have apparently narrowed their GM opening down to two candidates: Ryan Poles of the Kansas City Chiefs and Kwesi Adofo-Mensah of the Cleveland Browns. Both of these candidates have earned the right for a second interview with Minnesota but the most notable information here is their youth.
Poles is 36 years old while Adofo-Mensah is 32, shifting the Vikings towards a new outlook of the future. That trend also continues among their head coaching candidates as a chunk of their interviews have gone to younger candidates.
Assuming the Vikings hire one of these GM candidates in the next few days, a head coaching hire should be made soon. Ryan Poles could bring Eric Bieniemy or Mike Kafka with him from Kansas City as bright offensive-minded head coaches but other young guys like Raheem Morris, DeMeco Ryans, and Kevin O’Connell all have a chance to be named the next leader of the club.
There is still a lot to unpack and uncover with the next regime for the Minnesota Vikings but the shift towards a younger brass is excellent news. Minnesota boasts a young roster, a unit that ranked sixth in the NFL at the start of last season in terms of age.
Changes could be coming to the Minnesota Vikings roster
The offense is the youngest in the NFL and if Kirk Cousins and Adam Thielen are removed in the offseason, that number will continue to decrease. There are plenty of stars to build around on offense from Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook to Brian O’Neill and Christian Darrisaw on the offensive line.
Defensively, the Vikings are trending in the wrong direction but there is still talent to be found on that side of the ball. Eric Kendricks and Danielle Hunter, if they stick around, are two of the very best at their respective positions when healthy. Money may be a little tight unless those two – and others – agree to take pay cuts heading into 2022.
I do think Cameron Dantzler can be a very good outside cornerback in the NFL and his numbers back that up so far. He is a bit inconsistent in coverage and his absent-minded blown coverage that allowed the Lions to upset Minnesota in 2021 surely backs that up. But when Dantzler is playing at his best, he is one of the best young cornerbacks in the league.
A new regime is going to bring in its own philosophies and with that comes a new wave of talent on and off the field. We should see a change in the roster construction in some juncture of the offseason and that could reshape the Vikings’ roster for the next few years.
Kirk Cousins is the big name to keep an eye on but other veterans like Eric Kendricks, Danielle Hunter, and Harrison Smith could all be savory assets for the next GM to help get his guys into the building. If they want to go in a different direction, they should be able to trade the aging veterans to contenders to help get the roster trending in the direction they see fit.
For years the Vikings have tried to build a roster for Kirk Cousins. They’ve spent resources on the offensive line and at wide receiver/tight end to give him enough weapons to succeed. He came to Minnesota when they had a top-10 defense in the NFL.
Regardless of what the excuses are, Cousins has failed to make a mark in the NFC North and the Vikings have not reached the goals that were set in place by signing Cousins back in 2018. Now it is time to build around the superstars that can really make a difference.
Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook are the best players in Minnesota right now. Both are going to be enticing players for the next head coach and they are a large reason why the Vikings job was so popular during this cycle.
Jefferson can truly become one of the best to ever play in the NFL and certainly one of the franchise’s greatest players if he continues at the pace he is currently on. At just 22 years old, the future is brighter than ever imagined for the sophomore wide receiver.
Bringing in a new coach and general manager that will listen to the pleas of a wide receiver and allow him to be the focal point of the rebuild is what this team needs the most. If the next GM wants to ride with a rookie quarterback as sort of a statement, that could be excellent news for Jefferson while also helping the defense.
Jefferson would still get his bulky share of the targets while the money that is currently going to Kirk Cousins could instead be spent on the defense to help replace some of the veterans that are leaving in the offseason.
This offseason could end up being a masterful one for the future of the Minnesota Vikings. The investment in getting younger at the top of the organization and letting that trickle down to the roster is the perfect scenario for an aging defense.
I think this is the best reset the Vikings could hope for and each of the two finalists for the GM job is worthy of the role. Neither candidate would be the wrong choice and that is exciting for Minnesota.