"He always hated when we called it analytics" - John Lynch, GM San Francisco 49ers
By Brandon Huggard
Feb. 24, 2022
Photo Credit: Associated Press
Taking a perfect share of data driven insights and tempering it with years of in-person football experience and the ability to read each player’s individual strengths and weaknesses — the Vikings new GM signals the start of an exciting new era in the NFC North.
Kwesi Adofo-Mensah opts to use the term “research and development” when discussing the use of analytics in his approach to roster management and new coaching hires. On the Viking’s official site, Adofo-Mensah referred to the unique, agile process he uses to ensure that research and development is always helping to find the next big breakthrough in the world of football.
“You're always modeling your process,” Adofo-Mensah said. “Process isn't some stationary thing where you say, 'I think I figured it out.' It's actually the opposite. When I was first in San Francisco building those models, we built them to actually tear them down every year… You see what worked and what didn't and almost you start from scratch. If you think about empirical research or whatever, it's trying to consistently build on experience.”
With a Master’s in economics from Stanford and a previous background in the world of capital management, Adofo-Mensah fits the difficult bill of being able to handle the business side of football on top of the game itself. Working in San Francisco from 2013 to 2019, a stretch where the team won multiple playoff games and even made it to a Super Bowl, Adofo-Mensah served as the VP of Football Operation for one year in Cleveland before accepting his new position as a general manager with the Vikings.
Undoubtedly, the eyes of the NFL will land on Minnesota in the upcoming season as both fans and other teams will see how Adofo-Mensah’s first hire, head coach Kevin O’Connell, will pan out. And with it, a first impression of research and development in the NFL.