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Wilfs Make A Clean Sweep – But Who Will Be the New GM and Head Coach?

Wilfs Make A Clean Sweep - But Who Will Be the New GM and Head Coach?
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The telegraph has been fine in the past week or so until Mike Zimmer is fired on Black Monday. It was a surprise that the Welves also separated from general manager Rick Spielman, who was with the organization twice and seemed to have more confidence than the Welves in managing the staff side of football operations.

But the Welfs opted for a clean sweep and a massive system overhaul, paving the way for what they described as the internal search for a new general manager and head coach.

These jobs with the Vikings would easily be the most coveted of all the inaugural off-season coaches and general manager, given the Vikings’ position as one of the league’s major franchises, stability, state-of-the-art stadiums and facilities and a large fan base and pieces already on the roster.

“We believe it is time for a new leadership to raise the level of our team so that we can constantly compete for championships.”

In their statement, Welf explained what their goals for the franchise are – and still are – constantly competing for championships.

The words “consistently” and “continuously” come into play here.

They also said, “Our extensive search for a new General Manager and Head Coach will begin immediately and will be led internally.” This leads to the question of which, if any, current Vikings would assist the Wilves in this search. One name that has jumped to mind as a candidate in this regard is Rob Brzezinski, the current Executive Vice President of Football Operations. He has been an NFL CEO for 29 years and has been with the Vikings for 23 years. Wilfs kept him clean of the house shortly after he took ownership of the team, and he’s been promoted multiple times since then. But he was more of a numbers man than an appraiser of talent, managing the Vikings salary cap and negotiating contracts. COO Andrew Miller may also be involved, although he works more on the business side of operations – marketing, finance, real estate, etc., rather than being a footballer.

But the Wilfs have been owners for 17 years, and no doubt had a lot of connections and ideas about potential candidates for both jobs. In fact, they’ve likely been thinking about these moves for at least the past month or so, and no doubt they’ve already made some minor inquiries about who might be available. They may even have specific people in mind for both jobs. Maybe even one person for both jobs – who knows?

In any case, a new general manager is usually chosen first in these situations, and he is in turn consulted in the selection of a new head coach. But Wilfs may also be thinking about the structure they want to go forward with regard to the football side of operations.

Since Wilf became owner of the Vikings, they’ve gone from the power triangle, which they’ve had for six years, to naming General Motors to run the staff side along with the head coach. And since Mike Zimmer was a head coach, he was actually a head coach/coordinator.

Wilfs might want a different structure, with a real head coach without coordinating duties, and also have a certain degree of authority over personnel decisions, with full coordinators running both sides of the ball. At today’s press conference, Mark Welf said they will focus on appointing a general manager first, who will then have input on who will be the next head coach.

Top Candidates for the Post of General Manager

It was somewhat surprising to see Wilfs shoot Rick Spielman as well as Mike Zimmer, so I haven’t compiled a list of some of the top candidates for the GM’s off-season opening. Here is a list of some of the best candidates for the internship. This is a list compiled by Jonathan Jones at The slash after that is my comments on each filter. Here are the top candidates from that fairly extensive list.

Joe Hortiz, Ravens Team Manager for Individual Players: He was a senior lieutenant for Ozzie Newsome and Eric DeCosta for years, and was in this position for seven seasons. Hortiz is highly respected in the college scouting community. If you’re looking to steal GM’s from the ranks of another organization, nothing is better than stealing crows. They were the best crafting team since Hortez was there, and they were pretty good at free agency too. I’m not sure how much credit Hortiz deserves in all of that, but he certainly learned and worked with two great GMs at Ozzie Newsome and Eric DeCosta.

Ed Dodds, Assistant General Manager Colts: Dodds was highly sought after last season but had the privilege of waiting for the right job. If the right option opens up in this off season, I would expect him to be a top candidate. Dodds has earned a reputation throughout the league, but like George Patton, he’s waiting for the right opportunity. GM’s job for the Vikings could be just that.

Kwesi Adovo Mensah, Brown Vice President of Football Operations: He was an interesting name for the last cycle and he could have gotten a job well this time around. Adofo-Mensah has a Wall Street background and excels in the numbers portion of this business. Assuming the Vikings keep Rob Brzezinski, they don’t need someone from the Adofo-Mensah background. They need a guy who is good at assessing talent.

Joe Schoen, Assistant General Manager Billing: Of all the names on this list, no one is named more so than Schwinn. Given the diverse number of voices and backgrounds that were bred to make this list, that speaks volumes. Brandon Bean’s right-hand man in Buffalo, Schoen will be GM either this year or next. A prime contender, but is he the better candidate? maybe.

Dave Ziegler, Patriots Director of Individual Players: He took on the role of de facto general manager with the team after Nick Caserio left for Houston. He completely changed the bats draft process in 2021 and helped Belichick spend big on the free agency. You’ll likely be on the rise as a GM candidate as a result, but is that enough of a track record?

Some of the other notable candidates…

Ryan Cowden titans Vice President of Individual Players: Cowden took a successful career with the Carolina Panthers to Tennessee six years ago and assisted the Titans in three playoffs. He gave an interview to General Motors in Washington last year.

Mike Burgonzi , heads Assistant General Manager: It’s only a matter of time before people start getting them out of the Chiefs’ front office, and I was surprised that didn’t happen last year. Borgonzi was a major part of KC’s highly successful Brett Veach group.

Malik Boyd Invoices Senior Professional Scout Manager: Boyd has been in the Boy Scouts for nearly two decades. He got an interview for a Houston job last year.

Brandon Brown, the Eagles Player Personnel Manager: One of the fastest “risers” of all individuals. Brown played in college, has a law degree, college training background, scouts for the Colts, and oversees Philly’s professional scouting division.

Run Karthon 49ers Player Personnel Manager: Karthon received this promotion last year and runs the Niners’ professional scouting division. A former NFL player, he ran the Rams’ professional staff division before joining San Francisco five years ago.

Glenn Cook, Vice President of Browns Players: Cook, a former University of Miami quarterback, was a key and quiet part of Cleveland’s transformation under GM Andrew Perry.

Ryan Cowden titans Vice President of Individual Players: Cowden took a successful career with the Carolina Panthers to Tennessee six years ago and assisted the Titans in three playoffs. He gave an interview to General Motors in Washington last year.

Quentin Harris, basics Vice President of Individual Players: A former safe, the Cardinals were in the Arizona scouting division for 14 years and got promoted to vice president in offseason last season.

Brandon Hunt, Steelers Professional Scout Coordinator: Hunt was a leading candidate to replace Kevin Colbert in the event of a transfer. Being part of a team that, up to this point, hasn’t gone through any losing seasons, should mean something to team owners hoping for consistent success.

Jeff Ireland, Assistant General Manager of Saints: These star saints have been crafting in the past several years? Yes, this is Ireland. It’s been enough time since he took over as Dolphins GM that he should take a serious look at another gig.

Dwayne Joseph, Raiders Professional Personnel Manager: Joseph has been in a professional scout for 20 years. If and when the Bears GM job opens, he’ll likely get a call there.

Dan Morgan, Assistant General Manager of Panthers: The former All-Pro linebacker just joined the Panthers in this role after serving for three years as a Bills Manager for Players’ Players and should earn the GM appearance soon.

Omar Khan, Steelers Vice President of Football and Business Administration: He’s been with the Steelers since 2001 and is an essential part of what Kevin Colbert built there.

Trent Kirchner Seahawks Vice President of Individual Players: He was a GM candidate for the Texas squad last year and the Colts before that.

Adam Peters, 49ers assistant general manager: Peters reached the final at the Panthers Party last season and was promoted to AGM shortly thereafter. He scored 18 years in the NFL.

Ryan Pauls, Executive Director of Individual Players: He’s been with the Chiefs for over a decade and played a big role in the Kansas City drafts lately. He made it into the bottom four for a Carolina job at GM last year.

john spitak, pirate Vice President of Individual Players: The third name (listed alphabetically, remember) from this Bucs front desk is on this list. He has nearly two decades in the league with a previous hiatus in Denver as a National Scout during their career with Peyton Manning.

Eric Stokes Washington soccer team First player manager: Stokes is a respected scout who spent time with her public assistance in Miami in 2014 and 2015.

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