Rick Spielman

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Rick Spielman
Candid photograph of Spielman wearing grey slacks and a white polo-style shirt bearing a Minnesota Vikings logo and gesturing with his hands
Spielman in 2014
Minnesota Vikings
Position: General manager
Personal information
Born: (1962-12-02) December 2, 1962 (age 55)
Career information
High school: Massillon (OH) Washington
College: Southern Illinois
Career history
As executive:
Career highlights and awards
Executive of the Year (2017)

Richard “Rick” Spielman (born December 2, 1962) is an American football executive who is the general manager of the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League (NFL). He was promoted to general manager in 2012 after spending 2006–2011 as the team's vice president of player personnel.[1] He formerly worked for ESPN on NFL Live.

Spielman is a graduate of Massillon Washington High School located in Massillon, Ohio and is the older brother of Chris Spielman, the former Detroit Lions linebacker.

Playing career[edit]

Spielman played linebacker at Southern Illinois University (1983–86), earning first-team All-Gateway Conference honoree as a junior. He was also part of the 1983 NCAA Division I-AA national championship team as a redshirt freshman. Upon entering the NFL, as an undrafted free agent, he was invited to training camp with the San Diego Chargers (1987) and Detroit Lions (1988), but did not make it as a professional football player.[2]

Career in scouting[edit]

Spielman began his NFL career as a scout with Detroit in 1990 and worked with the club in college scouting for five seasons before adding pro scouting duties in 1995 and 1996. He moved to Director of Pro Personnel for the Bears from 1997 to 1999 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.

Spielman worked with ESPN as an NFL analyst in 2005, before joining the Minnesota Vikings.[2]

Minnesota Vikings[edit]

Spielman assumed the Vikings' Vice President of Player Personnel role on May 30, 2006, replacing Fran Foley.

To date, Spielman has overseen twelve drafts in Minnesota. His most notable draftees include: Adrian Peterson and Sidney Rice in 2007; Letroy Guion and John Sullivan in 2008; Percy Harvin and Phil Loadholt in 2009; Chris Cook and Toby Gerhart in 2010; Christian Ponder and Kyle Rudolph in 2011; Matt Kalil, Harrison Smith and Blair Walsh in 2012; Sharrif Floyd, Xavier Rhodes, and Cordarrelle Patterson in 2013; and, Teddy Bridgewater and Anthony Barr in 2014 in addition to Jerick McKinnon and Shamar Stephen. The Bridgewater selection was made after Spielman tried unsuccessfully to trade up with Philadelphia and select Texas A&M Quarterback Johnny Manziel, who Spielman had rated slightly higher on his draft board. Prior to 2012 when he was promoted to General Manager, Spielman shared a "triangle of authority" in drafts with Vikings' owner Zygi Wilf and then-head coach Brad Childress.

In 2014 Spielman was given the authority to make a head coaching change. He hired Mike Zimmer to replace Leslie Frazier. Mike Zimmer and new offensive coordinator Norv Turner were involved in the draft process in 2014 and 2015. Notable 2015 draft picks on defense included Trae Waynes who led the Vikings in special teams tackles, Eric Kendricks who led the Vikings in tackles, Dannielle Hunter who recorded 6 sacks in limited playing time and saw his role grow towards the end of the year. The Vikings also drafted notable offensive players in TJ Clemmings (started all 16 games and 1 playoff game at right tackle), Stefon Diggs (led the team in receiving yards as he recorded 720 yards and 4 touchdowns on 14 games), and tight end MyCole Pruitt.

The draft aside, Spielman is best known for several key offseason moves. In 2008 they traded a first-round pick, two third-round picks and a swap of sixth round picks to the Kansas City Chiefs for Pro Bowl defensive end, Jared Allen. Spielman also played a key role in the Vikings coming to terms with longtime Green Bay Packer Brett Favre prior to the 2009 season. In 2012 Spielman helped the team sign fullback Jerome Felton who made it to the Pro Bowl that same year and who was a major contributor to Adrian Peterson rushing for the second highest total yards in a season in NFL history. the Vikings signed Tom Johnson in 2014 and resigned him in 2015. In 2015, the Vikings brought in Terence Newman and traded for Mike Wallace. Under Rick Spielman, the Vikings have also hit on undrafted players like Andrew Sendejo, Marcus Sherels, Matt Asiata, Adam Thielen and in 2015 safety Anthony Harris and Taylor Heinicke (spent 2015 on the roster as the 3rd string QB)

On January 3, 2012, Spielman was promoted to General Manager of the Vikings.

Personal life[edit]

Spielman is married and has six adopted children.[3] His wife's name is Michele and his children are Juan, Luis, Ronnie, J.D., Omie and Whitney. J.D. currently plays football for the University of Nebraska.


  1. ^ "Vikings Name Rick Spielman General Manager". vikings.com. January 3, 2012. Retrieved January 3, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Rick Spielman Biography". vikings.com. January 3, 2012. Retrieved January 3, 2012. 
  3. ^ La Vaque, David. "JD Spielman, Eden Prairie: Star Tribune Metro Football Player of the Year". startribune.com. Star Tribune. Retrieved 8 September 2016.