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What Bears, Vikings Hiring New General Managers Means for Detroit Lions

The Vikings and Bears have hired their next front office leaders, will now look to hire head coaches to begin next chapter.

The NFC North is set to undergo a fair amount of attrition during the offseason. Numerous questions surround three of the four teams, as Green Bay will have to decide on quarterback Aaron Rodgers, among other players, while Minnesota and Chicago have personnel decisions to make.

The Lions, meanwhile, seem to have their infrastructure intact. General manager Brad Holmes and head coach Dan Campbell are both returning for their second years with the organization. They’re set to build upon the foundation that was laid during the 2021 campaign.

Both Minnesota and Chicago have reportedly hired new general managers, meaning they will be dealing with new leadership. The Bears have hired 36-year-old Ryan Poles, while the Vikings decided on 40-year-old Kwesi Adofo-Mensah.

Both GMs will have to get to work immediately, as both teams have head coaching vacancies needed to be filled.

Poles was previously the executive director of player personnel with the Kansas City Chiefs, a title he held for one season. Ultimately, he spent 13 seasons with the Chiefs organization. In his latest role, he oversaw college scouting, and helped the team with draft and free agency preparation.

Media pundits have raved about the hire since its announcement. 

“Maybe the best indication of the impression new Bears GM Ryan Poles has made with teams -- he’s interviewed for 4 GM jobs over the last 12 months (Panthers last year; Bears, Vikings, Giants this year), and he’s been a finalist for all of them,” The MMQB's Albert Breer tweeted.

The Bears officially announced the hire Tuesday.

“We are thrilled to be able to add someone of Ryan’s background and football expertise to our organization,” Bears chairman George H. McCaskey said in a statement. “His accomplishments with the Chiefs speak for themselves and amplified the team’s standing as one of the premier franchises in professional sports. We are confident that under his leadership, we will reach our goal of bringing a Super Bowl championship to Chicago.”

According to ESPN, Poles has already interviewed former Lions head coach Jim Caldwell for the head coaching position, and is set to interview two more candidates, Dan Quinn and Matt Eberflus, for the same role.

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Minnesota’s new GM is a little less known. Formerly the vice president of football operations with the Cleveland Browns, Adofo-Mensah signed a four-year, $12 million deal to become the successor to Rick Spielman. 

The Vikings had not officially announced the hire at the time of publication.

He doesn’t have the football player background of Poles,  but has been praised for his abilities to navigate and use analytics. A former day trader, Adofo-Mensah brings a unique perspective to the NFL.

He has experience dealing with roster decisions, as this was part of his previous role with the Browns. With him at the helm, it can be expected that the Vikings will become very in tune with the analytical side of football.

Adofo-Mensah also has a head coaching vacancy to take care of. The Vikings have interviewed eight potential candidates, two of which have ties to the team’s new GM.

The Princeton grad began his career working in the research and development department for the San Francisco 49ers, where he worked until being hired by the Browns in 2020.

His time with the 49ers overlaps with two candidates who have interviewed with the Vikings: 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans and Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell.

Several others have interviewed for the position, including former Lions quarterback and current Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore.

The Lions are uniquely staying consistent, while opponents deal with turnover. How this turns out is anyone’s guess. But, there is a sense of calm in Allen Park  as division rivals start over from a leadership standpoint.