Paton getting respect, but staying put

Vikings assistant general manager George Paton has received multiple opportunities to interview for promotions outside the organization and continues to turn them down.

In the days since Black Monday created coaching vacancies and general manager openings, it has been a free-for-all for those teams looking to hire new people to run their football side of the operation.

While head coaching moves often come quickly, those teams hiring new G.M.s look to move even faster. Rare is the instance where a head coach is hired before a general manager because there is an organizational pecking order in place that typically has the G.M. higher on the organizational tree than the head coach.

As result, teams like the Jets and Bears are looking to get their G.M. openings filled as quickly as possible, so they can be part of the pre-free agency and draft process as soon as they can. Clearly, both teams are deep into that process.

Starting on Monday, one of the candidates mentioned by NFL analysts on ESPN and NFL Network was Vikings assistant general manager George Paton. A respected executive around the NFL, Paton’s name has surfaced as a potential candidate for G.M. openings before. This year was no exception.

Paton was asked by the Jets this week if he wanted to come in for an interview following the firing of John Idzik along with head coach Rex Ryan Monday.

Paton declined to even go to a preliminary interview. As he has done before, he likes the position he’s in with Minnesota and has no intention of leaving now.

It’s unclear whether it was that it was the Jets organization that played into the decision not to interview for the position, but he has turned down offers to interview before. The Jets have been a dysfunctional organization for some time. Idzik was hired in early 2013 after Jets owner Woody Johnson fired G.M. Mike Tannenbaum but retained Ryan. Idzik wasn’t a classic “football guy” in the general manager sense and he and Ryan feuded about which of their quarterbacks – Geno Smith or Michael Vick – gave the team the better chance to win. Ryan thought Vick. Idzik thought Smith, and Smith reclaimed his starting job.

From the Vikings’ perspective, it should be gratifying to know that other teams see what they’re doing in the personnel department and want to pluck someone from their yard to come and do the job for them. It’s a sign that the Vikings are doing something right in terms of the draft and formulating a 53-man roster. It should feel even better that Paton’s has turned down multiple offers to even interview for a promotion outside the Vikings.

Just as the Vikings are getting notice as a potential team on the rise among X’s and O’s types that break down game film, it would seem that the interest Paton has garnered over the last couple of years is a sign that the guys behind the scenes are getting noticed as well.


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