American Football

Kwesi on the Hot Seat and Other Vikings Pre-Draft Notes

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Chicago Bears v Minnesota Vikings
Photo by Todd Rosenberg/Getty Images

It’s NFL Draft Week, and that means news and disinformation is flowing freely throughout the league and the Minnesota Vikings are definitely a common subject of both.

Here are some stories worth monitoring.

Kwesi on the Hot Seat

Dianna Russini at The Athletic reports that among all the GMs on the hot seat heading into the draft, the Vikings’ Kwesi Adofo-Mensah may have the hottest seat. That echoes a report from the Charley Waters at the Pioneer Press that Adofo-Mensah doesn’t have the power Rick Spielman had within the Vikings organization when he was GM, and also a piece I did a couple months ago that Kwesi Adofo-Mensah may not have the same regard as Kevin O’Connell and the upcoming draft is a crucial one for KAM.

At this point KAM has yet to make his bones with the Vikings organization and this draft may be his last chance to do so before a decision is made on extending him or not. His first draft has not turned out well so far and his second has been okay, but not stellar. And outwardly at least, he seems to struggle as a negotiator. His contract talks with players like Kirk Cousins, Justin Jefferson, Danielle Hunter, and even TJ Hockenson were labored and led to impasses. A deal with Hunter was finally agreed after a hold-out and hold-in by Hunter, while negotiations with Cousins and Jefferson (so far) didn’t result in deals getting done.

Similarly, draft trades and free agency deals have been a mixed bag, although this latest round of free agency appears at least initially successful. The most recent draft trade with the Texans in which the Vikings gave up #42, a 2025 second-round pick, and #188 for #23 and #232 was a good deal for the Vikings by most charts, including the Jimmy Johnson and Rich Hill charts.

Nevertheless, Kwesi’s future with the Vikings could very well hinge on how well he does with this draft, both in player selection and any draft day trades.

Vikings Targeting JJ McCarthy with Bo Nix a Fallback Option?

Charley Waters also reports that the Vikings will target JJ McCarthy in a trade up with Bo Nix as a fallback option if the Vikings are unable to land McCarthy. Waters thinks the Vikings will trade up to #4 or #5 and draft McCarthy, which will require #11 and #23 and possibly their 2025 first-round pick. Waters says the team is reluctant to part ways with the 2025 first-rounder because it could turn into a high pick if the Vikings end up in last place in the NFC North but would consider trading their 2026 first-round pick instead.

Nix and McCarthy were among the three most accurate passers (along with Jayden Daniels) among the top six QBs in this year’s draft class, so with Kevin O’Connell and Kwesi Adofo-Mensah both saying accuracy is a “first and foremost” consideration for a quarterback prospect, those options make sense. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Vikings have looked into trade contingencies if Jayden Daniels isn’t selected #2 overall as well.

But several other reports suggest the Vikings are targeting Drake Maye in a trade-up scenario. Many of those reports, like this one from Ben Volin, cite that the Vikings’ QB coach Josh McCown used to coach Drake Maye in high school as a connection.

Might the Vikings Get a Big Bonus from the Commissioner?

Adam Schefter reported today that the NFL may be coming to a resolution on the Kirk Cousins tampering case ahead of the draft on Thursday, which could bring a potentially big bonus to the Vikings. Prior to the draft last year, a tampering case was resolved with a settlement between the Eagles and Cardinals for the latter’s tampering. Schefter reports that the punishment for the Falcons “will be more severe.”

Now it’s unclear if the punishment will be the Falcons forfeiting draft picks or whether the Vikings will be the beneficiary of the Falcons draft pick losses, as they were the team victimized by the Falcons tampering with Kirk Cousins. The Vikings would need to have certified a compliant to receive compensation from the Commissioner according to the league rules on tampering, but it’s also possible that the resolution comes in the form of a league-brokered settlement between the two teams.

In any case, given the high-profile nature of the tampering- the top free agent on the market and a top QB in the league- who the Falcons also signed, the punishment if the tampering proved to be extensive or went high enough in the Falcons organization, could be the most severe to date. The Dolphins lost a first-round pick for tampering with Tom Brady, even though they didn’t sign him. It’s anybody’s guess how the Commissioner will deal with the Falcons tampering, but a resolution could be coming in the next few days.

Paul Allen chimed in on issue on KFAN today as well, suggesting that swapping pick #23 for pick #8 is ‘on his radar’ if the tampering is proven- for what that’s worth. Any resolution that gives the Vikings more first-round draft capital would be a huge bonus for the Vikings.

Stay Tuned

It’s a busy week for Vikings news leading up to the draft, so stay tuned.

Follow me on X/Twitter @wludford

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