Rick Spielman enters his 10th season as General Manager of the club and 16th overall with the Vikings in 2021, the 31st season he has worked in the NFL. The Vikings have won 4 NFC North titles made the playoffs 6 times in the past 13 seasons.
Spielman joined the Vikings as Vice President of Player Personnel on May 30, 2006 and directed scouting, free agency and draft preparations for the club before taking on General Manager duties for 2012. Spielman has climbed the ranks of NFL personnel departments with Detroit, Chicago and Miami prior to joining the Vikings. Spielman's tenure with all 3 franchises has been highlighted by drafting impact players throughout the seven rounds and making key trades and free agency acquisitions. Spielman's teams have won 7 divisional titles and made the playoffs 11 times. Spielman was named NFL Executive of the Year by Pro Football Weekly in 2017.
The Vikings have drafted players who have made immediate impacts on the club under Spielman's direction. The team has used 17 picks in the 1st round since Spielman joined the club. Of those 1st-rounders 8 were All-Rookie selections, 5 were Pro Bowlers as rookies, Adrian Peterson (2007) and Percy Harvin (2009) were each named Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year, Patterson was a 1st-Team Associated Press All-Pro and Jefferson earned 2nd-Team AP All-Pro honors, only the 2nd rookie WR in the NFL since Randy Moss achieved All-Pro in 1998. In 2012, Peterson was named Associated Press NFL MVP. Peterson and Cordarrelle Patterson were each named to the 2010's NFL All-Decade Team.
Since Spielman began directing the Vikings drafts and personnel from 2007-present, the Vikings drafted 16 players (Peterson, Rice, Harvin, Rudolph, Walsh, Kalil, Patterson, Griffen, Smith, Barr, Bridgewater, Rhodes, Hunter, Cook, Kendricks, Jefferson), signed 6 as free agents (Brett Favre, Jerome Felton, Linval Joseph, Adam Thielen, Kirk Cousins and C.J. Ham) and acquired 1 in trade (Jared Allen) who have gone on to earn Pro Bowl honors. Under Spielman's drafting, 17 Vikings have earned All-Rookie honors, highlighted in 2020 by Jefferson and CB Cameron Dantzler.
In an unsettled 2020 season that did not have an offseason program and was played in empty stadiums the Vikings battled through a rash of injuries and relying heavily on rookies in key roles. The team fought back from a 1-5 start to finish 7-9 and showed a glimpse of the future of the team with Justin Jefferson's record-setting season with 88 catches and 1,400 yards. A pair of rookie CBs, Jeff Gladney and Dantzler, were the regular starters and gained valuable experience. Cook ranked 2nd in the NFL in rushing with a career-best 1,557 yards and scored 17 TDs, 16 of those on the ground.
The 2019 Vikings went 10-6, earned a playoff berth, won their Wild Card round matchup at New Orleans 26-20 in OT and advanced to the Divisional Round. The Vikings defense saw LB Eric Kendricks earn 1st-Team AP All-Pro honors for the 1st time in his career.
In 2018, the club had record-setting performances from 1st-year free agent QB Kirk Cousins and posted an 8-7-1 mark, narrowly missing the playoffs. Hunter and Smith both earned AP All-Pro honors and on offense the duo of Thielen and Diggs became the 1st Vikings to each have 100+ catches in a season.
The 2017 Vikings advanced to the NFC Championship Game following a 13-3 regular season and claimed the NFC North title. The club displayed quality depth and emerging talent throughout the season en route to the 2nd-most wins in a season in team history.
In 2016, Rhodes and Joseph each earned their 1st Pro Bowl honors, joining Griffen (2nd), Smith (2nd) Barr (2nd) and Patterson (2nd).
In 2015, the Vikings took the NFC North title away from 4-time defending champion Green Bay on their home field in the regular season finale, posting an 11-5 mark and hosting a Wild Card playoff game against Seattle. The Division title was the 1st in Minnesota since 2009 and the team got big contributions from the rookie class. Kendricks became the 1st rookie to lead the team in tackles since the inaugural season in 1961 and Diggs became the 1st rookie to lead the team in receptions. Barr, Bridgewater, Griffen, Peterson, and Smith earned Pro Bowl honors in 2015.
The 2014 Vikings had rookie 1st-rounders Barr and Bridgewater both earn Player of the Week accolades and Bridgewater was named the QB of the All-Rookie team by PFWA and voted by fans as the Pepsi Rookie of the Year. Griffen led the team with 12.0 sacks and earned NFC Defensive Player of the Month honors in September.
In 2013, Patterson re-wrote the Vikings and NFL record books and showcased his unique play-making ability. He tied an NFL record for the longest play in league history and notched the longest KO return in NFL history with a 109-yard score vs. Green Bay (10/27/13).
The 2012 Vikings relied heavily on contributions from the rookie class and newly-acquired free agents to go 10-6 and earn a Wild Card Playoff berth. Peterson ran for 2,097 yards to finish 9 yards shy of the NFL single-season record.
In 2008 the Vikings engineered a pre-draft trade to land Allen from Kansas City, who has earned All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors in 2008 and 2009. The club signed Favre as a free agent entering 2009 and the veteran QB directed one of the most exciting seasons in team history and set career-bests in several offensive categories. The 2009 Vikings boasted an NFL-best 10 players who earned Pro Bowl honors.
Spielman began his NFL career as a scout with Detroit in 1990 and worked with the club in college scouting for 5 seasons before adding pro scouting duties in 1995 and '96. He moved to Director of Pro Personnel for the Bears from 1997-99 before joining the Dolphins in 2000 as Vice President of Player Personnel. He was promoted in 2002 to Senior Vice President-Football Operations/Player Personnel and eventually General Manager in 2004. Spielman left the Dolphins during the 2005 off-season and worked with ESPN as an NFL analyst before joining the Vikings. While with Miami for 5 seasons, the team had a winning record 4 times, won the AFC East in 2000 and went to the playoffs in 2000 and 2001 but missed the playoffs in 2002 and 2003 despite 9-7 and 10-6 records respectively.
Spielman got his first taste of NFL personnel analysis as a college scout with Detroit from 1990-94 and added pro scouting responsibilities for his final 2 seasons (1995-96) in the Motor City. The Lions enjoyed one of the finest stretches in franchise history in the early 1990s, winning a pair of NFC Central titles in 1991 and 1993 and the team advanced to the playoffs in 1991, '93, '94 and '95. The 1991 team set a franchise record with a 12-4 regular season mark, hosted and won a playoff game for the first time since 1957 and advanced to the NFC Championship Game against Washington.
Following Spielman's playing career at Southern Illinois from 1983-86 he was invited to training camp with the San Diego Chargers (1987) and Lions (1988). His younger brother, Chris, was a Pro Bowl LB who played 11 NFL seasons with Detroit (1988-95) and Buffalo (1996-98).
Spielman has a bachelor's degree from Southern Illinois and a master's from Ohio State. He and his wife, Michele, have been active with children's charities and the couple has adopted six children.