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For GM Candidate Ryan Poles, It Could Come Down to Choosing Between Vikings and Bears

Poles might have his pick between Chicago and Minnesota this week, though other factors remain involved.
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Heading into a critical week, it seems more likely than not that Chiefs executive director of player personnel Ryan Poles will end up as the general manager of an NFC North team, presumably by the end of the week.

The only question might be which one: the Minnesota Vikings or the Chicago Bears?

Poles is a finalist for both jobs after previously being a finalist with the New York Giants, who passed him over for Bills assistant GM Joe Schoen. He was also a finalist for the Panthers' opening last year. That tells you a lot about the 36-year-old, who has been a big part of the Chiefs becoming the most consistently successful team in the NFL over the past four years.

First up for Poles this week is a second interview with the Bears on Tuesday. That's the same day the Vikings are interviewing Browns VP of football operations Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, the other of their two finalists. Poles then heads to Minnesota on Wednesday.

Adofo-Mensah is a strong, fascinating candidate in his own right — he would be the slightly more unconventional hire because of his background in economics and analytics — but it sounds like Poles is the favorite in Minnesota. The former Boston College offensive lineman has spent 13 years with the Chiefs, rising through the scouting ranks while working under three different GM regimes, and by all accounts is fully ready to become a GM himself. In addition to his impressive personnel resume, Poles is a leader who would bring the communication and collaboration skills the Vikings are seeking.

The timing aspect of this is interesting. The Bears interviewing Poles first means they'll have the first crack at offering him a job, if they choose to do so. But they're also still conducting initial interviews with other candidates this week. The Vikings are more narrowed down in that they've completed their entire first round of interviews and are down to two choices.

If the Vikings like Adofo-Mensah more after the two interviews this week, it doesn't seem like they'd face any obstacles in hiring him. But if they want Poles, there could be a bit of a bidding war with the Bears. That could come down to which team makes a better offer, although the pros and cons of each job might be factored into his decision as well. The Bears have a young quarterback on a rookie contract and a better defensive core, but the Vikings have the advantage in offensive roster talent, stadium and facilities, and organizational competency.

The Vikings won both meetings with the Bears this season, but they might have to beat their division rival once again to land their guy at GM.

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