Vikings Implement Scouting Changes

The Vikings hired two new personnel evaluators, switching the direction on the pro side and leaving two longtime employees with consultant opportunities. See what VP of player personnel Rick Spielman had to say about the changes.

The Vikings shuffled the deck slightly in the personnel department this week, as the team's vice president of player personnel, Rick Spielman, talked about Thursday.

Spielman hired his former colleague with the Miami Dolphins, George Paton, to become the Vikings' director of player personnel. He will head up the pro scouting department and report to Spielman while longtime Vikings employee Scott Studwell will remain in his position as the director of college scouting.

"(Paton) will be overseeing the pro department. He will also be aiding in the college department as well, but Scott Studwell, our college director, he will report directly to me and George will report directly to me as well. So it will be those two reporting to me from a structural standpoint," Spielman said.

Paton spent six of his 10 NFL seasons with the Miami Dolphins, from 2001-06. His NFL scouting career began in 1997 with the Chicago Bears.

"I've been with George for a long time," Spielman said. "The hardest thing was that everybody in the (Vikings) organization and the personnel department did a great job with all the changes from an organizational and structural standpoint and a procedural standpoint on how we did things. But this was the first opportunity probably to bring in a couple of guys that are familiar with the system. I think by adding these two and doing some of the things that we have done, we'll actually strengthen the department even more."

The Vikings hired Spielman away from ESPN last year after they fired Fran Foley from that position following one free-agent and draft period as the team's vice president of player personnel. Since the contracts of scouts and player personnel department employees usually expire in the spring, this was Spielman's first real opportunity to put his own stamp on the department he leads.

Longtime pro personnel evaluator Paul Wiggin could return as a consultant, but Spielman said that hasn't been finalized. Longtime college talent evaluator Frank Gilliam was also given the opportunity to return as a consultant, but Spielman said Gilliam wanted to pursue other opportunities first.

Pro scout Frank Acevedo, who has 12 years of NFL experience and five with the Vikings, will move to the college side.

Asked if there will be anymore changes expected in the department, Spielman said, "This is it. All the other scouts will be returning. I was very pleased with how the draft went and how the college scouts did. They did an outstanding job. Scott Studwell was outstanding. The pro side, I'm very pleased with J.R. (Jeff Robinson) and Ryan Monnens. Those guys are all extremely talented in what they do. The one thing is when a new guy comes in, you want to see their work ethic and buying into your system and they all did that. They all came in here and pitched in and learned a new way to do things without any hesitation."

Paton was on his way to the Twin Cities on Thursday and Kuhn was already at Winter Park Thursday morning.

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