The Vikings began their first in-person interview for their general manager job with Browns vice president of football operations Kwesi Adofo-Mensah on Tuesday. It could be the only in-person interview they conduct for the job.
Chiefs executive director of player personnel Ryan Poles, who was scheduled to meet with the Vikings in Minnesota on Wednesday, was named the Bears' general manager on Tuesday evening after a second interview with Bears ownership in Chicago.
Adofo-Mensah and Poles were the only candidates the Vikings had scheduled to interview in Minnesota, and Adofo-Mensah now appears to be the clear favorite for the job. He remained in town on Tuesday night, as his conversations with the Vikings continued into the evening.
The 40-year-old Adofo-Mensah would bring a markedly different approach to the Vikings' front office than any GM in team history. He walked on to the basketball team at Princeton, graduating from the university with an economics degree, and worked on Wall Street trading energy derivatives and commodities before earning a master's degree in economics from Stanford and being hired by the 49ers in 2013.
The Browns made Adofo-Mensah their vice president of football operations in May 2020, adding him to a front office building around analytics with Andrew Berry and Paul DePodesta, and he quickly earned attention around the NFL as Cleveland returned to the playoffs for the first time in 18 years with former Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski as head coach.
Though Dennis Green served as the de facto general manager during his final years as head coach, Adofo-Mensah would be the first Black man to have the GM title in Minnesota if he is hired. Like Vikings co-owner Mark Wilf, he is a New Jersey native who graduated from Princeton, and took a similar path from Wall Street to the NFL as Vikings chief operating officer Andrew Miller, who is leading the team's search for a new GM and negotiating contracts with prospective GM and head coach hires.
Poles, 36, also had been a finalist for the Giants' GM job, which went to Joe Schoen. The Bears had signed Poles, a former Boston College offensive lineman, as an undrafted free agent in 2008, but he did not make the roster.
He spent the previous 13 seasons in the Chiefs' front office, the past year as executive director of player personnel under general manager Brett Veach. He was the team's director of college scouting in 2017 when Kansas City drafted Patrick Mahomes with the No. 10 overall pick.
"The Chicago Bears are one of the flagship franchises in the National Football League and are recognized as one of the most prestigious clubs in all of sports," Poles said in a news release. "It's an honor for me to join such a well-regarded organization. Together with my family, I'm looking forward to hitting the ground running to help get this organization, its fanbase and the city what they deserve: a winning team and a Super Bowl trophy."
The Bears fired general manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy after a 6-11 season. They brought in Hall of Fame executive Bill Polian to lead a five-person search team that also included chairman George McCaskey and president Ted Phillips.
"We are thrilled to be able to add someone of Ryan's background and football expertise to our organization," McCaskey said in a news release. "His accomplishments with the Chiefs speak for themselves and amplified the team's standing as one of the premier franchises in professional sports."
The Associated Press contributed reporting.