Chain of Command Still Unclear

Despite the Vikings hiring former Miami Dolphins general manager Rick Spielman, the chain of command in personnel decisions at Winter Park is still uncertain, although it appears head coach Brad Childress could have the final call.

The Vikings moved quickly to restore their front office to full strength by hiring Rick Spielman last week. He replaces the fired Fran Foley. Foley, you'll recall, lasted all of three months as the team's vice president of player personnel before being shown the door May 3.

With Foley in place, the Vikings' leadership structure had been dubbed the "Triangle of Authority." This included coach Brad Childress at the top, with Foley and vice president of football operations Rob Brzezinski on the lower portions.

Spielman, who will hold the same title as Foley had, did not make it clear how the power structure will work but it appears that only Childress will be able to overrule him when it comes to decisions about the Vikings' roster. Scott Studwell, the Vikings' director of college scouting, will run the college draft, according to Spielman.

"I will be heading up the personnel end of it. Coach Childress will handle the coaching end of it," said Spielman, who had been working at ESPN. "[But] nothing is done without teamwork. Every organization that functions in this league, that has winning programs, has guys that are working together on the same page.

"The one thing I've always believed in is regardless of who's making the decision or who's not, not everybody is going to be right. But what you have to do is set aside your ego and work for what's best for this organization. So when we come up with a decision, regardless of who's making those decisions, it will be a decision that we think is best for the Minnesota Vikings and best for this organization to move forward."

Spielman, who has held front office jobs with two of the Vikings' NFC North rivals (Detroit and Chicago), last worked in the NFL as general manager of the Miami Dolphins in 2004. He was promoted to that position after four seasons in Miami's front office.

With new coach Nick Saban having full control of the Dolphins — and the team coming off a disastrous 4-12 season — Spielman left the organization in June 2005.

His track record on personnel decisions in Miami was hit-or-miss. The bad included sending a second-round draft pick in 2005 to the Philadelphia Eagles for quarterback A.J. Feeley and trading Pro Bowl defensive end Adewale Ogunleye to Chicago for receiver Marty Booker. The good included taking receiver Chris Chambers with a second-round pick in 2001 and tight end Randy McMichael in the fourth round in 2002.

Spielman, who had been interviewed for the Vikings' job before it went to Foley, said he had no problem accepting the job the second time it came around.

"Not one bit; not one bit at all," he said. "To come into an organization with the ownership and with the people in place here already and to be a part of that is [a great opportunity]. Things work out for a reason, and I think a lot of things aren't explained as to why they worked out. All I know is that I was presented a great opportunity, and I did not hesitate one bit to jump on that opportunity because of this organization, because of the people in this organization, because of the head coach, and especially because of the ownership and their commitment to winning."


  • Vikings offensive lineman Adam Goldberg signed his one-year, $425,000 tender offer as an exclusive-rights free agent. Goldberg will enter training camp battling for a backup role.

  • The Vikings have parted company with regional scout John Fitzpatrick.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "I know how hard it is from your standpoint, working in the media. I've done radio, I've done television, I've written articles. In fact, the first time I wrote an article it took me six hours and six editors before they were finally able to publish it. That's why I got out of the media business; there was too much pressure in that. This is a lot less pressure, so I'm very excited to get back in my own element because your job, believe me, I know there's a lot more to it than people think." — New Vikings vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman, who joined the Vikings after a stint at ESPN.

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