This isn’t your father’s Vikings… and both Minnesota Vikings’ head coach Kevin O’Connell and general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah have underscored that point with both personnel changes and public comments in this off-season.
The Vikings are bracing for the second year of what the front office has termed a “competitive rebuild.”
The onset of this competitive rebuild’s second year has necessitated parting ways with fan favorites and Pro Bowl players such as Adam Thielen, Eric Kendricks, and Dalvin Cook. Danielle Hunter’s future with the team remains uncertain.
During a press conference on June 13th, O’Connell conveyed that the franchise is striving to be “solution-oriented” regarding Hunter’s unresolved status for the 2023 season and beyond.
When it comes to what these changes should mean for Vikings fans and the future expectations, O’Connell says, “I think, as far as future years and things like that are concerned, I know that there’s a reason for everything that we want to do, both in the short term and in the long term.”
Vikings’ General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah recently made a rare media appearance, reiterating O’Connell’s remarks while expanding on what fans can anticipate from the team in 2023.
During an interview on Peter Schrager’s podcast, “The Season with Peter Schrager,” Adofo-Mensah candidly acknowledged the uncertainties facing the team, recognizing the departure of fan favorites and viewing this as an opportunity for the organization and its fans to rally behind the young players familiar with the team’s culture.
“We’re really excited about what we are. We’re younger, but we’re fast. We’re hungry. We’ve got two great coaches on both sides of the ball: Kevin, obviously, and Wes Phillips as the offensive coordinator. Brian Flores… he’s a special cat, so I think people are going to love what they see,” Adofo-Mensah told Schrager. Echoing O’Connell’s “solution-oriented” approach, Adofo-Mensah emphasized that the ultimate goal of the Vikings is to win at the highest level, with every decision directed towards that ambition.
When asked to identify an “unsung” member of the roster that embodies the team’s identity, Adofo-Mensah unhesitatingly named safety Josh Metellus, a 2020 sixth-round pick and a remnant of General Manager Rick Spielman’s tenure.
The former Michigan Wolverine is rapidly becoming a quiet yet influential figure within the roster. Adofo-Mensah has lauded Metellus as a “special teams stalwart,” with a burgeoning role on defense. Metellus’s potential for leadership became evident when he was elected team captain by his peers after an injury sidelined the previous captain. His charismatic aura echoed through the locker room, a clear indication of the profound respect and admiration his teammates harbor for him. As Adofo-Mensah emphasized, Metellus personifies the values and spirit of the Minnesota Vikings. Fans should anticipate his impact on and off the field in the 2023 campaign.
All in all, Metellus is the kind of Viking Vikings want to go to battle alongside.