With Adofo-Mensah, O’Connell in place, what’s next for the Vikings?

The Minnesota Vikings now have their new staff in place, with Kwesi Adofo-Mensah now in charge of the front office.

The Vikings last Thursday introduced Kevin O’Connell as the 10th head coach in franchise history. O’Connell was four days removed from winning a Super Bowl with the L.A. Rams at his introductory news conference.

O’Connell said he’ll call the offensive plays next season for the Vikings, and his vision for the team involves communication and collaboration at all levels, as well as having connectivity between the front office, coaches and players. The team’s first offseason decision is likely on the future of quarterback Kirk Cousins.

He’s spent four seasons with the Vikings, and is due to make $45 million in 2022. The Vikings have made the NFC Playoffs just once in Cousins’ four seasons. O’Connell coached Cousins in 2017 in Washington, and while Cousins put up big numbers that year, Washington finished just 7-9.

Vikings’ owners Mark and Zygi Wilf spoke out Cousins’ future after O’Connell’s news conference.

"I certainly do believe, even more so now, that we’ve got our leadership in place and that we’re built to be successful right away," Mark Wilf said. "We feel very confident about that, and we’re going to work with Kirk as our quarterback and we’ll move forward from there. Sustained success is the goal, and I think we have it with this leadership."

"What’s interesting, of course, is that he worked with Kirk for a year over in Washington. He knows him and it’s a good start, and I think he’ll bring the best out of him and he’ll boost that offense to another level," Zygi Wilf said. "Everyone is excited on both sides of the ball to have him here, and we’re very excited to have him here too."

O’Connell was asked directly about Cousins’ future, and said he plans to build the Vikings’ offense around his strengths as a quarterback.

"I know he’s under contract and I’m excited to coach him. We’ve already started thinking about how we’re going to build those systems for him. It takes all 11 to move the football on offense, to run it, to throw it, to score points in the red zone. But I’m anticipating Kirk being a part of what we do," O’Connell said.

The Vikings have options for Cousins in 2022 – He can play at a $45 million cap hit, they could sign him to an extension and lower that cap hit or they can seek a trade and go in a different direction at quarterback. Cousins said after the season he wants to be with the Vikings the rest of his career.

The front office also has decisions to make on other veterans, including Anthony Barr, Danielle Hunter and Harrison Smith among others. Other top free agents on the Vikings last season include Patrick Peterson, Tyler Conklin, Everson Griffen and Sheldon Richardson.


The Vikings on Monday announced five additions to their coaching staff, including Wes Phillips as offensive coordinator. Phillips served as the L.A. Rams' passing game coordinator and tight ends coach last season, during their Super Bowl run. 

Phillips came to the Rams in 2019. He started in the NFL in 2007 as a quality control coach and offensive assistant with the Dallas Cowboys. He also worked with O'Connell in 2017 and 2018 in Washington. His role will be similar to what O'Connell's was with the Rams. Sean McVay called plays, but O'Connell helped install game plans and had extensive input on the offense.

The Vikings also announced Matt Daniels will be the special teams coordinator, Daronte Jones will return as defensive backs coach after being the defensive coordinator at LSU last season, Ben Kotwica will be the assistant special teams coach and Mike Smith will serve as the outside linebackers coach/pass rush specialist.