Who Are the Most Appealing GM Candidates For the Vikings?

The Wilfs acted quickly Monday morning and the Minnesota Vikings are officially entering a new era.

For the first time since 2012, the Wilfs find themselves tasked with rebuilding their front office. I was wondering if Rick Spielman was part of the solution in November. The Wilfs agreed with my assessment, dropping from their GM on Monday morning.

With Mark Wilf saying the first order of business is to hire a GM and then hire the head coach after, let’s take a look at five of the most attractive candidates who could potentially lead the Vikings front office.

Eliot wolf

Front office consultant for the New England Patriots, former assistant general manager of the Cleveland Browns, former executive of the Green Bay Packers

Wolf is the son of former Green Bay Packers general manager Ron Wolf, who won the 1996 Super Bowl. Eliot spent 14 years at the Packers front office, from 2004 to 2017. Wolf was reportedly in the running for succeed former Packers general manager Ted Thompson. But the Packers gave the job to Brian Gutekunst, who also spent more than a decade working alongside Thompson and Wolf in their front office. After the Packers passed on Wolf, he served as assistant general manager for the Cleveland Browns in 2018 under John Dorsey when the former general manager of the Kansas City Chiefs took over in December 2017.

When the Browns left Dorsey after the 2019 season, Wolf joined the New England Patriots front office as a consultant, where he currently serves.

At 39, Wolf has spent his entire adult life learning how to successfully run an NFL front office. It’s only a matter of time before he becomes the boss. Wolf is in the same mold as Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach, having spent his entire career in successful front offices while still possessing a solid understanding of how the modern NFL works.

Rick smith

Former general manager of the Houston Texans

Smith was Houston general manager from 2006 to 2017 before being replaced by head coach Bill O’Brien. Smith had to step down to help care for his wife, who was diagnosed with cancer. Prior to leading the Houston front office, Smith was an assistant defensive back coach for the Denver Broncos from 1996 to 1999 and won back-to-back Super Bowls in 1997 and 98.

During Smith’s first NFL Draft as general manager of the Texans in 2006, he said to ignore the consensus and passed on the widely anticipated No.1 pick Reggie Bush and instead picked the defensive end Mario Williams with the first pick. As people questioned Smith for passing on the former Heisman Trophy running back, the selection turned out to be the right one. Williams recorded 97.5 sacks during his 11-year NFL career.

Smith – who is black – would provide the Vikings and the NFL with much-needed diversity and is more than qualified to lead this next chapter of Vikings football.

Mike Borgonzi

Kansas City Chiefs Assistant General Manager

Two weeks ago, I wrote to find out if Borgonzi was ready to lead a front office.

Now that the GM position is officially open in Minnesota, the Wilfs would be wise to sit down with the assistant GM who has been with the Chiefs since 2009.

Jeff Ireland

Deputy CEO and Director of University Recruitment of the New Orleans Saints

Last week I wrote about what it might look like if the Wilfs decide to build their organization around Justin Jefferson.

In the article, I wrote about the Wilfs who brought in Ireland to be their CEO as part of a larger New Orleans Saints plan that includes former Saints Helpers Joe Lombardi as Minnesota head coach and Joe Brady as offensive coordinator.

After Ryan Pace was sacked, reports link Ireland to the recently vacant Chicago Bears general manager job. If the Vikings looked for their GM elsewhere, they could compete with Ireland in the division.

Louis riddick

ESPN Monday Night Football broadcaster, former Washington and Philadelphia Eagles executive

Year after year, Riddick is one of the most popular potential CEO candidates whenever vacancies arise. After Howie Roseman and Andy Reid developed Riddick in the Philadelphia front office from 2008 to 2013, Riddick became a household name for football fans due to his role with ESPN.

Riddick has previously interviewed for general manager positions with the San Francisco 49ers, Texans and Detroit Lions.

Given Riddick’s experience at the Philadelphia front office with Reid, Roseman, and current Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach, Riddick has learned from some of the best. And he still has a clairvoyant pulse on the league, even though Riddick has been working in a front office for almost a decade. Find out what Riddick had to say about Patrick Mahomes in August 2018, when Mahomes only had one meaningless start to the week on tape.

Riddick also appeared on John Middlekauff’s podcast last year and provided terrific insight into the NFL GM interview process.

If the Wilfs are looking for a GM hire, Riddick would universally excite the fan base. The long-reported caveat with Riddick is that if he lands a GM job, he and New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels form an overall contract. McDaniels would be his favorite head coach if Riddick was given the keys to an NFL front office. Riddick played for New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick during their time with the Browns in the ’90s, and Riddick is said to have close ties to Belichick and the Patriots.

A fresh look was long overdue for the Minnesota Vikings, especially in the front office. And with all of the outstanding candidates available for the Wilfs, they will no doubt have their hands full with the decision-making process over the next week or so.

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