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singersp
11-21-2005, 09:17 AM
Plans for leadership still forming

The makeup of the Vikings' front office will be based on the people hired rather than a predetermined structure.

Kevin Seifert
Last update: November 20, 2005 at 6:51 PM


At a gathering of investors Nov. 11 in New York City, Vikings owner Zygi Wilf led a discussion on multiple topics. The group hashed through proposals to renovate Winter Park, heard an update on the new Code of Conduct and also touched on negotiations to update fan amenities at the Metrodome.

Of most notable interest, however, was the apparent green light Wilf and his partners gave to begin restructuring the football side of the front office. While no one would comment on the details, it appears Wilf has asked Rob Brzezinski, vice president of football operations, to develop a series of parallel scenarios to pursue when the season ends.

Wilf said earlier this season he planned to hire a "senior NFL executive," a position he later described as closer to a personnel director than a general manager or team president. In reality, the Vikings will base the job's description and authority level on the person they hire rather than seek out someone for a predetermined role.

Such an "if-then" approach has Brzezinski's style written all over it. So we'll try it ourselves: If Brzezinski is authoring the plan, then it makes sense to conclude he has accepted a significant role in the Vikings' future. While Wilf's faith in him has never wavered, NFL observers have wondered if Brzezinski -- whose contract expires Feb. 28 -- would seek a more authoritative role with the Vikings or another organization.

Brzezinski does not have a new contract, but he and Wilf appear to have agreed in good faith to work together to bolster the team's football operations. Brzezinski's exact role in that future, however, seemingly will remain undefined until after the process concludes.

According to those familiar with the situation, the Vikings will pursue two or three scenarios this offseason and structure the front office based on which possibility they settle on. One has Brzezinski recruiting a star executive who in essence would become his boss.

Before you discount that scenario -- Would New England's vice president of player personnel, Scott Pioli, for example, really come to Minnesota? And would he accept a job while his predecessor remains as a subordinate? -- consider several factors.

Wilf and other members of his investor group are big-scale thinkers. They are unlikely to carry a Minnesota inferiority complex into building their team, and they don't appear the types to be concerned by whatever financial demands Pioli or someone like him would make. Also, Brzezinski's aversion to public scrutiny makes it plausible he would endorse such a scenario.

Not many executives around the league would merit the kind of authoritative role Pioli deserves. So based on the law of averages, it seems the least likely of the team's scenarios.

Other possibilities include Brzezinski taking a modest step in authority, perhaps as an executive vice president, with a new personnel director reporting to him. A continuation of the team's committee-style approach has not been ruled out, either, if a new hire has the credentials to report directly to Wilf.

In the end, who runs the front office will be one of two primary questions Wilf and Brzezinski must address. The other: Will the front office have authority over the coaching staff?

Under Wilf and Red McCombs, coach Mike Tice has reported directly to ownership. Again, it appears the Vikings will not decide whether that structure will remain intact until after Wilf decides whether Tice will return.

That ambiguity offers an intriguing situation for the team; should Tice depart, the lack of a big-name executive could help attract a big-name coach who wants at least some personnel authority. What situation do you think, say, Jimmy Johnson would prefer? Working with Brzezinski or for Pioli?

The Vikings will spend the next seven weeks fine-tuning their plan, one that could evolve based on the team's second-half performance. For now, rest assured: The wheels are turning.

Kevin Seifert • kseifert@startribune.com

Prophet
11-21-2005, 04:16 PM
Good to see the wheels are churning. I'm looking forward to seeing what will happen with the organizational structure in the offseason.

gregair13
11-21-2005, 05:00 PM
yes the offseason will be very interesting depending on how we finish.

Wiggles67
11-21-2005, 05:12 PM
regardless of which way they end up going in the resturcturing of all this stuff I think it is absolutely essential that the Vikings keep Brzezinski around. He has been amazing dealing with signings and bonuses and stuff. he has set the organization up in a position to continually be well believe the salary cap

singersp
11-21-2005, 05:14 PM
"Wiggles67" wrote:

regardless of which way they end up going in the resturcturing of all this stuff I think it is absolutely essential that the Vikings keep Brzezinski around. He has been amazing dealing with signings and bonuses and stuff. he has set the organization up in a position to continually be well believe the salary cap

Keep Studwell too!