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Rick Spielman's Tenure with Vikings Turns 10

Ten years ago today, the Vikings hired Rick Spielman as vice president of player personnel. The official title of general manager was added in 2012.

At the time of Spielman's hire, Minnesota did not officially list a GM, but he acted in a similar capacity. Spielman's length of time with the Vikings as a GM or de-facto GM is eighth longest in the NFL.

Dallas Owner Jerry Jones (1989) is also Cowboys President and General Manager. Cincinnati Owner Mike Brown has been Bengals GM since August 1991. Cincinnati also has Pete Brown as Senior Vice President — Player Personnel and Paul Brown as Vice President — Player Personnel.

Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick has run point on personnel matters since January 2000.

Pittsburgh GM Kevin Colbert was originally hired in February 2000 as Steelers Director of Football Operations.

New Orleans GM Mickey Loomis joined the Saints in 2002, the same year that Baltimore's Ozzie Newsome was promoted to Ravens GM after serving as vice president of player personnel since 1996.

Green Bay GM Ted Thompson joined the Packers in 2005.

Houston GM Rick Smith was hired by the Texans a little less than a week after Spielman joined the Vikings.

Here are 10 highlights from Spielman's first 10 seasons:

1. AP the MVP

Spielman joined the Vikings after the 2006 NFL Draft. The first selection Minnesota made with guidance from Spielman was Adrian Peterson, the seventh overall selection in 2007. Peterson has won three rushing titles, turned in the second-highest single-season rushing total in NFL history (2,097 in 2012), garnered Associated Press Rookie of the Year honors and has been named to seven Pro Bowls.

2. The big deal

The Vikings made three trades during the 2007 draft and three more after it, but the stakes escalated in 2008 when Spielman swapped four picks (a first rounder, two thirds and a sixth) with Kansas City to acquire Jared Allen and a sixth-round pick that was used to select John Sullivan. Allen was named All-Pro in four of his six seasons with the Vikings and totaled 85.5 sacks in that stretch. Sullivan has started 93 of the 109 games he's played.

3. Favre's finale

Spielman brought in veteran Brett Favre in August 2009, and the former nemesis had the best statistical season of his career at age 40. He threw for 4,202 yards and 33 touchdowns with just seven interceptions for a passer rating of 107.2. The Vikings repeated as NFC North champs and made their most recent appearance in the NFC Championship.

4. Trades aplenty

The Vikings have executed at least two trades each year since 2007 and totaled six deals in three separate years (2007, 2010, 2015). Spielman's willingness to move up or down has made the NFL Draft compelling throughout the annual three-day event.

5. First-round frenzy

It started in 2012, when the Vikings traded back into the first round to select Harrison Smith at the 29th overall spot. Spielman was able to do so because he gained picks earlier in the evening by moving one spot down in a deal with Cleveland. The following year, a couple of deals resulted in three first-round selections (Sharrif Floyd, Xavier Rhodes and Cordarrelle Patterson). Spielman again traded back into the first round in 2014 to land Teddy Bridgewater after first drafting Anthony Barr. From 2011-2015 or from 2012-16, the Vikings totaled eight first-round selections, tying an NFL record.

6. Later picks that have clicked

The opening night of the draft is hyped considerably, but it can only do so much to fill out a roster. In 2014-2015 the Vikings made a total of 13 selections on the third days of those drafts, and 10 players are with the team. The list includes T.J. Clemmings, who started all 16 games last season as a rookie, versatile tight end MyCole Pruitt and explosive receiver Stefon Diggs in 2015. The Vikings made six selections on the third day of this year's draft.

7. Retention rate

Between Spielman's 2007 draft with Minnesota through the 2015 draft, the Vikings tabbed 75 players. Of those selections, 34 players remain on Minnesota's current roster. The Vikings 45.3-percent retention rate of their draft picks in that span is the highest in the league. Cincinnati (42.7) was second, and Green Bay (42.0) was third.

8. Immediate impacts

From the selection of Peterson and Brian Robison in 2007 through the selections of Eric Kendricks, Danielle Hunter and Diggs in 2015, the Vikings have had 13 players tabbed All-Rookie selections, four more than they had in the 10-year span from 1994-2003.

9. Let's (Pro) Bowl

The Vikings have claimed three division titles since 2007, including last season, when Minnesota went 11-5 overall and 5-1 against the NFC North. The success led to the Pro Bowl selection of five players (Peterson, Barr, Bridgewater, Smith and Everson Griffen, a fourth-round find in 2010). All told, the Vikings have had 11 different players drafted since 2007 make the all-star game.                                                                                       

10. Community commitment

Minnesota has become home for the Spielman family, and the Vikings GM has been committed to the community. Rick and his wife, Michele, are parents of six adopted children. The Spielmans have spoken multiple times around the country, including visits to Denver, Chicago and St. Louis to speak highly of adoption and how it has brought joys to their family. Rick spoke at an event for Evolve Adoption & Family Services earlier this month.  The Spielmans also team with Vikings Executive Vice President of Football Operations Rob Brzezinski and his wife, Leah, to hold an Adoption Family Fun Fest each year at Winter Park. Spielman also has taken part in the Polar Plunge multiple times to support Minnesota Special Olympics.   

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