After the Vikings decided to change regimes, it started to become clear that a certain amount of dysfunction existed between the former front office and the coaching staff. As the new regime gets settled in, they understand the importance of working together, without agendas or in-fighting or blame-shifting.
I asked G.M. Kwesi Adofo-Mensah on Wednesday about the importance of his relationship with coach Kevin O’Connell.
“It’s everything,” Adofo-Mensah said. “It’s literally everything. When I started the interview process, I’ll be honest, I don’t know if insecurity is the word, but I have such a unique path, right? To have a head coach who’s worked his whole career to get his one chance and then to trust that chance with me, I knew how momentous that was. When I was in the interview, I wanted to make sure that they had time to ask me questions and really feel comfortable what they were getting into.
“When I called Kevin to offer him the job, I said to him, ‘Hey man, I’m only doing this once. We’re coming in together; we’re going out together.’ You hire a coach, you hire a problem solver. We’re a problem-solving team. If there’s issues, it’s our job to fix them together. There’s no finger pointing. It’s our job to kind of study them and I believe in him and I know he believes in me. He says that all the time that if he could choose anybody to do this job, he’d choose me. That means the world to me, and I obviously gonna work my butt off to not let him down. We’re in this together. I don’t think you’ll be showing any PFT headlines one day showing about ‘how dysfunctional.’ That’s not how it’s gonna be.”
That’s absolutely the right attitude, across the board. (Although headlines like that are good for business.) General Managers and coaches need to be tied at the hip. They need to have equal accountability. Both succeed, or both fail. That forces them to work together, to understand there’s no benefit to trying to blame the other guy when adversity strikes. Because it always does, eventually and inevitably.
Also inevitable is a pitch for you to buy Playmakers, whenever and wherever I can. I’m making it here because one of the many chapters (more than 100 in all) looks more closely at the coach/G.M. relationship, and why it’s so important that they both find a way to resist the temptation to internally or externally pin the blame for any problems on the other guy.