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Vikings GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah preparing for all scenarios in first round of 2024 NFL Draft

Thanks to the events of this offseason, the Minnesota Vikings haven't exactly been in a position to keep the rest of the NFL guessing.

The Vikings are in the market for a quarterback. They know it as much as the other 31 clubs know it. But they're not about to reveal their secrets, or commit solely to using their assets --- two first-round picks, including one acquired after Kirk Cousins' departure -- to move up and take a passer.

"We want to make sure that we set ourselves up for a potential better look if a team picks up the phone because they don't have to pick up the phone," Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah during a Thursday news conference. "But we also want to set ourselves up for being in a really good situation if they don't and we pick great players. Again, I know we talk about quarterback a lot -- it is the most important position in our sport, but it's the most important position in a team sport. It's not just getting the quarterback right; it's getting the quarterback right and the team around it.

"So, we look at this decision, if you look at our offseason in a sense, it's kind of the go-between between quarterback assets and everything else. I think that our draft will follow the same suit. I don't think you want to necessarily go take these huge swings and not be able to build a team around them. You'll be in a different, but still not in the place you want to be. So, I think that's kind of how we look at that decision."

Essentially, Adofo-Mensah isn't going to use both first-round picks to move up and select a quarterback just to draft a replacement for Cousins. It's about finding the right fit, which is why Minnesota attempted to protect itself against a nightmare scenario by signing Sam Darnold in free agency.

Still, the Vikings need a long-term option under center. Darnold hasn't proven he can be that guaranteed solution, but neither will any rookie who walks into Minnesota's building, even if such expectation follows a first-round selection.

Adofo-Mensah isn't shying from the reality that the Vikings need more than Darnold, though, and with two first-rounders in hand (Nos. 11 and 23), they're armed with enough capital to move up if the timing and fit are right. There's inherent risk, but that shouldn't deter Adofo-Mensah -- or any general manager, for that matter -- from making such a move. As Bruce Arians once said, no risk it, no biscuit.

"Just because something is risky doesn't mean you have to stay away from it," Adofo-Mensah said. "It's something that is hard to grasp, but if you grasp it, you know what the rewards are, right? And that's something you have to weigh and measure. ... You can look at countless examples of other teams who've made decisions, but maybe the decision you thought was going to be the decision, it was a different decision that ended up being right and the outcomes were good.

... "I think our odds will be better than the margins. How good are those odds? I think it's still a pretty risky thing, but just because something's risky doesn't mean you're scared from it, you're scared of it -- you just have to believe. It's uncertain, right? It's uncertain and we have to take our swing, but that doesn't give us any pause, I would say."

Because of Cousins' departure, the Vikings aren't exactly in a position of privilege. That's different than acting out of desperation, though, which is why Adofo-Mensah also explained how he views his team's first two picks as insurance. If the quarterbacks they love are gone, and they don't feel confident in taking a swing on another from their position, they can always take a top talent outside of quarterback, continuing to improve the situation around the signal-caller until they find their guy.

"There's multiple guys that we're in love with just on an outright basis, but there's also other guys that we're in love with given what -- if we get them at a certain value -- what they'd also be able to come with," Adofo-Mensah said. "As I talked about earlier skill set wise, if you're talking about the ability to overcome context, well, if the guy has less ability but we have assets to go get somebody that's not going to put him that situation, those things add up too."

Adofo-Mensah admitted he's still new to the process of evaluating high-level quarterback talent and planning to make a significant decision at the position. He credited his former quarterback of a head coach, Kevin O'Connell, for being a "big driver of this process," offering insight Adofo-Mensah may not have received from another coach with a different background.

He believes the Vikings are better for it. But ultimately, draft night will arrive, and Adofo-Mensah may have to work the phones before making a big decision or two. And when the dust settles, he'll end up being the one critics judge closest -- both in April, and in the years to come.

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