With many of the formalities in the rear view mirror, Friday presented the first full day where new Vikings General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah was able to sit down in his new office and start the actual work of revamping this team for 2022.
We're all aware that the first order of business is to hire a new head coach. As hirings have begun around the league, the time to strike is now. Adofo-Mensah shared that part of his process will include getting up to speed on the candidates who have already interviewed, part will be touching base with the players to learn what they're looking for in the culture of the organization and part will be tapping on his network for other candidates not yet vetted.
Assuming that process is already underway, that leaves at least THREE MORE pressing items at the of Kwesi's to-do list that need to be discussed, if not addressed as soon as possible.
First, and maybe most importantly is determining the future status of defensive end Danielle Hunter. Now you might have expected this top spot to be a conversation about the highly paid quarterback, that's #2 on my list. We'll get into that shortly.
Hunter is due an $18 million signing bonus on the fifth day of the 2022 league year so a decision needs to be made quickly. Once thought of as an elite pass rusher with a ceiling as high as the sky, Hunter has become more of a liability missing most of the past two seasons with injury. While not his fault, it does factor in and for a team that is cap-strapped for the upcoming season you have to make an informed decision on his value into the future.
Secondly, yes the quarterback position. There may not be a quick fix option for the next season and that pins the most likely scenario as one that continues the status quo with Kirk and his contract. Enter the season on the final year, albeit an expensive final year, and evaluate the future from there. There are options for trades that could send Kirk to the Steelers, Seahawks, Packers and Browns, but the odds on favorite will be that he stays in Minnesota for 2022. That doesn't mean that you don't need to formulate an opinion. Look back at the data, watch the film back and develop an informed opinion on your valuation for Kirk Cousins. From there, allow him to prove you right or wrong in 2022 and be prepared for the consequences of either decision. That may mean drafting a QB this season, exploring future free agent options or even delivering an ultimatum to the player himself. Tell him what you're looking for and see if it motivates him to become more consistent.
Third is a full revaluation of the rest of the defense. There were a lot of players brought in last season for one final push to keep Zimmer & Spielman's jobs. That didn't work, those players are now free agents and there are a lot of voids specifically on the defensive side of the ball and specifically with defensive backs. Xavier Woods, Patrick Peterson, Mackensie Alexander, all are presently gone for next season. Do you want to try and bring any of them back? Can you afford to? Who else might be available?
There are some large tasks at hand for Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. He undoubtedly has his own prioritized list, but for my money this is where he should start.