The Browns are saying goodbye to one of their most trusted, collaborative and intelligent members of their front office with the departure of Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, who was announced Wednesday as the new General Manager for the Minnesota Vikings after spending two seasons in Cleveland as Vice President of Football Operations.
Adofo-Mensah joined the staff of Andrew Berry, EVP of Football Operations and GM, in 2020 and has helped the Browns build one of their most successful teams in over three decades. He oversaw talent evaluators and the analytics team and gathered information to influence decisions on all roster transactions, which have helped Cleveland build 19 wins in the last two seasons, its most in a two-year period since 1988-89.
Berry, however, always knew Adofo-Mensah could eventually rise to a general manager position as he continued to grow with the Browns, and that opportunity for Adofo-Mensah has arrived in Minneapolis.
"We are beyond excited that Kwesi has been named General Manager of the Minnesota Vikings," Berry said. "Kwesi's infectious energy, critical thinking skills, collaborative spirit and expertise across the football operations/player personnel spectrum made a lasting footprint here in a short period of time. These same characteristics will make him an exceptional leader, problem-solver and roster architect for the Vikings."
Adofo-Mensah was selected to join Berry's staff after he spent seven seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, where he handled a variety of roles in their football research department and became a trustworthy voice in their own front office. He was with the 49ers when they advanced to the Super Bowl in 2020, and his knowledge and insight appealed to Berry and translated well to the Browns after he brought him to Cleveland — the Browns went 11-5, ended an 18-year playoff drought and advanced to the AFC Divisional Round for the first time in 27 years in the 2020-21 season, the first under Berry's regime.
The impact Adofo-Mensah had on the Browns was felt by everyone, and head coach Kevin Stefanski, who spent 14 seasons with the Vikings before he was hired by the Browns in 2020, believes Adofo-Mensah is well-deserving for his next role.
"I've enjoyed getting to know Kwesi and working with him for the last two years," Stefanski said. "He's worked extremely hard for this opportunity, and the Vikings are getting an outstanding person that will be driven to build a winning culture. Kwesi has been a great resource for me and our coaching staff and he will do everything in his power to install a process within the Vikings organization that will lead to success."
The Browns will receive two third-round compensatory picks — one in 2022 and another in 2023 — as a result of Adofo-Mensah's hiring in accordance to a policy the NFL implemented in November 2020 for teams who develop minority coaches and front office executives.
Berry, however, made it known before the policy was created that he valued a diverse front office, one that welcomed people with different perspectives and different backgrounds to ensure his team included as many viewpoints as possible. He hoped each of the front office members would have promotion opportunities elsewhere in the future, too.
"Everyone is not a carbon copy of one another — they bring different perspectives, different experiences, different viewpoints, and that is what is going to push us to better decision-making," Berry said in May 2020. "We really are going to consider all the different perspectives and value them. That was a specific aiming point because I think that just helps us to be a better, higher-quality football operation."
Now, after two seasons of quality assistance from Adofo-Mensah, Berry's goals are being met, and he has all the confidence that Adofo-Mensah will succeed in Minnesota.
"While we are sad to see him go, we are proud of the person and executive that Kwesi is," Berry said. "We wish him and his fiancé, Chelsea, nothing but the best moving forward."