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George Paton leaving Vikings to be Broncos' general manager

Ben Goessling, Star Tribune on

Published in Football

The Denver Broncos announced Wednesday that Vikings assistant manager George Paton would be their new general manager.

Paton, who worked for the Vikings for 14 years, has been a popular candidate in GM hiring circles around the NFL for years. He also interviewed with the Lions last week. He agreed to a six-year deal, according to a source with knowledge of the negotiations.

Paton has been at Vikings GM Rick Spielman's side in Minnesota, Miami and Chicago. His scouting acumen — particularly as it relates to draft strategies — was widely respected in the Vikings' front office.

He was a finalist for the Rams' GM job in 2012, and turned down interview requests from several teams after 2013 and 2014 seasons. In 2017, he met with the Colts and 49ers, and was believed to be the front-runner for the San Francisco job until the team hired John Lynch. Paton turned down an interview from the Chiefs later in 2017, rebuffed interest from the Jets in 2019, and last year, he met with the Browns — who'd just hired former Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski as head coach — before withdrawing from that race.

Paton, 50, replaces John Elway, who will now be the team's president of football operations and has said he will step away from day-to-day decisions on the draft, free agents and roster. Paton has a personal connection to the Broncos: His nephew Rob is a scout for the team.

 

"Early in this process, it became clear why George has been such a coveted GM candidate for so many years," Elway said in a statement. "He is a proven evaluator who knows every detail of leading football operations. With his experience in all aspects of the job—the college and pro sides, salary cap, trades, working with the head coach and bringing the staff together—George is more than ready to succeed in this role. George has waited and worked for the right opportunity, which shows that he is smart and serious about winning."

The Broncos have not reached the playoffs since winning the Super Bowl in the 2015 season, and have lacked stability at quarterback since Peyton Manning retired after the championship run.

"In many ways, I feel like this team is a sleeping giant," Paton said in a statement. "For me, it is the right place and the right time for this opportunity."

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