Scoggins: Adofo-Mensah meets draft night challenge in a big way

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah's first two drafts as Vikings general manager left a lot to be desired, to put it kindly. He was both shrewdly calculated and uber-aggressive in his third crack at it on one of the most important nights in the organization's modern history.

Adofo-Mensah's impressive offseason makeover continued in full force Thursday.

He got his QB, and he got a supremely talented defensive player. The price was high in terms of draft capital, but being bold is sometimes expensive. If a special talent is available, go for it and then worry about lost draft picks later.

The fear of waking up with regret is a powerful motivational tool. Everyone in the organization could sleep well after Adofo-Mensah maneuvered to land Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy and Alabama edge rusher Dallas Turner.

"We're through the moon with what happened," Adofo-Mensah said.

He had one mandate at the start of the day: Draft a QB.

This was the rare draft in which there was zero doubt about the Vikings' intentions with their first pick. Adofo-Mensah could not have closed shop without a new quarterback. Anything short of that would have qualified as a disaster.

The GM's stomach might have been lodged in his throat as the Vikings inched closer to being shut out of the quarterback party, but Adofo-Mensah took his shot at the right moment after a curveball elevated the urgency.

North Carolina's Drake Maye might have been the preference, but that scenario was a pipe dream. The New England Patriots were in the same quarterback-starved predicament and would have been foolish to pass on a potential future star.

Speculating about what it would take to trade up to No. 3 was a fun conversation for the past few months. In reality, McCarthy or Michael Penix Jr. were the most logical options for the Vikings at No. 11 — if they stayed in that spot.

The Atlanta Falcons pulled off a stunner by selecting Penix at No. 8 one month after signing Kirk Cousins to a four-year contract worth $100 million guaranteed.

Just a hunch, but Cousins was probably more shocked than anyone. Good thing he has become a champion at securing guaranteed money in contract negotiations.

After that surprise, Adofo-Mensah couldn't sit and hope that McCarthy fell into his lap at No. 11. Not with the QB-needy Broncos and Raiders drafting behind him.

The trade with the Jets cost the Vikings a fourth- and fifth-round pick to move up one spot to No. 10, but that was a pittance compared to what the fallout would have been if a team leapfrogged them to take McCarthy.

A Vikings-McCarthy union made the most sense all along. Some fans are certain to bemoan the selection because McCarthy played in a run-heavy offense at Michigan and therefore didn't have dazzling stats or highlight film.

That he attempted only 22 passes per game was a product of playing in Jim Harbaugh's system, not necessarily an indictment on his talent.

McCarthy is a winner. Does that guarantee he will succeed in the NFL? No, nothing is ever guaranteed when drafting a quarterback, but his intangibles were an attractive selling point.

Coach Kevin O'Connell now takes ownership of this major organizational decision. His tenure will be defined in large part by McCarthy's career.

Adofo-Mensah's offseason moves have been intentional. He stood firm in his stance in negotiations with Cousins, smartly avoiding any temptation to overspend for the sake of quarterback certainty.

He has untangled the salary cap mess to put the team on solid financial footing next offseason. He upgraded the offense with former Packers running back Aaron Jones and added new pieces on defense, mostly notably with edge rushers. He bolstered that group Thursday by trading up for Turner, one of the top defensive talents in the draft.

It was refreshing to see the Vikings aggressively move up to take a highly regarded player rather than trade back to accumulate later-round picks. This team needs difference-makers.

"Never done, never satisfied," Adofo-Mensah said of his offseason moves.

He's right. A Justin Jefferson extension continues to hang over the organization. The to-do list is smaller now, though.

The Vikings got their quarterback.

That was Adofo-Mensah's only requirement. He did even better.