Four takeaways from Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s introductory press conference
Adofo-Mensah was lively, calm and confident in his comments throughout the 35-minute press conference. The only time he got emotional was when he talked about his mother, Emma, a Ghanaian immigrant whom he credits with instilling his work ethic in him.
“She’s amazing,” he said. “Growing up it was always ‘You can do anything’. Practices, whatever it was, it was always ‘Did you do your best? Did you practice? Did you prepare? ‘ and it was always the process rather than the results. She was the first person to teach me that. She always had this phrase: “When something happens in life, all I can do is ‘is work.’ That’s all she would tell me; all I can do is work. So when I see problems now, I have this smile on my face and I think of my mother. I roll up my sleeves and that’s where I’m most comfortable. . She’s everything to me.”
Adofo-Mensah’s father died in the fall of 2014 during Kwesi’s second season in the NFL. His 49ers had just beaten the Cowboys in the season opener, winning the turnover battle 4-0. It was a busy day and Adofo-Mensah couldn’t answer the phone. The last words his dad said to him came in a voicemail after that game – a voicemail he’s kept over the years and still listens to when he needs a boost.
“One of the things he was best at was telling me how proud he was of me,” Adofo-Mensah said. “I know he would be very proud if he was here today. The last thing he said to me – it’s funny. We beat the Cowboys years ago, and you know how football season your communication skills aren’t great You don’t come back to the people in your life I’m trying to get better We were four more that day we beat the Cowboys My Dad left me a voicemail and it’s something I listen to all the time. He said, ‘I’m proud of you. Your boys made a statement.” And sometimes when I need a little more, I play voicemail because I think there’s more statements to be made. That’s the job I’m going towards. always strive.
There is Adofo-Mensah’s big brother and little sister, with whom he remains close and who allows him to remain humble when he needs it. And there’s his fiancée, who showed up to the presser wearing a vintage Vikings hat she ordered right after his first interview with the team, more than a week before he landed the job.
“It was just an immediate crisis,” Adofo-Mensah said. “It was just fine. I was catching up [Browns GM Andrew Berry] afterwards, and we were talking about things, and I was just like, ‘Man, they were so detail-oriented, so process-oriented.’ And he’s like, ‘Looks like you found your people.’ And I was just like, ‘Yeah. I think that made sense, man. I got down from my office – it was a Zoom, it was snowing in Cleveland so I couldn’t get to the office – and I got down and jumped around a bit. My fiancée said to me, ‘What’s wrong with you?’ I was like, ‘I don’t know. There was just an energy of it. I felt energized afterwards. She went on Etsy at that time and bought a vintage Vikings hat that she wears there now. So I think she knew before me that I would be there.”
“I really believe I was supposed to be your general manager,” he continued, addressing all the Vikings fans watching. “I think it was just meant to be.”