ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Broncos have chosen the new leader of their front office.
Denver has agreed to terms with George Paton to become the team's new general manager, the Broncos announced Wednesday.
Paton, previously the Vikings' vice president of player personnel/assistant general manager, becomes the 15th top personnel executive in Broncos history.
"Early in this process, it became clear why George has been such a coveted GM candidate for so many years," President of Football Operations John Elway said. "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. We're thrilled to name George Paton as general manager of the Denver Broncos."
Paton spent 14 seasons in Minnesota, including the last nine as the team's assistant GM. He assumed his most recent title of vice president of player personnel/assistant general manager in 2018.
"George is one of the most widely respected and experienced personnel executives in the NFL," President/CEO Joe Ellis said. "He's a composed, collaborative leader with a clear vision of building a championship team. Getting to know George over the last week, his intelligence, work ethic and leadership skills impressed all of us. He has worked nearly 25 years in the NFL to prepare for this challenge, and we are very fortunate to have George as our new general manager. We're excited to welcome George, his wife Barbara and his children Bella and Beau to the Broncos family."
During his time with the Vikings, Paton worked closely with general manager Rick Spielman to help build a roster that has made the playoffs in three of the last six seasons and won a pair of division titles since 2015.
"It is an honor to be named General Manager of an iconic franchise with a championship tradition like the Denver Broncos," Paton said. "This organization has great resources, tremendous people, a talented young core of players and an outstanding coaching staff.
"In many ways, I feel like this team is a sleeping giant. For me, it is the right place and the right time for this opportunity.
"Throughout this process, I felt a real connection with Joe, John and Vic. It feels like home. We share the same values on winning and doing things the right way.
"While it is difficult to leave the Vikings, the relationships I enjoyed in Minnesota are for life. I am truly grateful for the Wilf family, Rick Spielman, Rob Brzezinski, Mike Zimmer and the entire Vikings organization. Thank you for treating us like family.
"I believe in hard work, the grind and not taking any shortcuts to achieve our goals. Drafting and developing players is the No. 1 priority. We will be aggressive—but not reckless—in adding talent to our roster.
"Our family has heard nothing but great things about Colorado, especially the passionate fans in Broncos Country. Along with my wife Barbara and children Bella and Beau, we are proud to now call Denver our home.
"I can't wait to get to work. Go Broncos!"
The Vikings made six playoff appearances — with six different starting quarterbacks — and won four total division titles during Paton's time in Minneapolis.
In 2017, the Vikings advanced to their first conference championship game since 2009. The 2017 Vikings featured seven Pro Bowlers and four All-Pros, including three draft picks and Adam Thielen, who had joined the team as a college free agent.
In his latest role in Minnesota, Paton was responsible for coordinating scouting within both the Vikings' college and pro departments and overseeing transactions.
Paton also helped Spielman on salary cap and player acquisition decisions, as well as the formation of the team's analytics department.
Minnesota was successful in both college and pro scouting during Paton's time with the Vikings. Since his arrival in 2007, the Vikings have drafted 15 players to make a Pro Bowl, and no team has selected more future Pro Bowlers (10) than the Vikings over the last 10 NFL Drafts.
Minnesota's picks include WR Justin Jefferson, RB Dalvin Cook, DE Danielle Hunter, WR Stefon Diggs, LB Anthony Barr, CB Xavier Rhodes, WR Cordarrelle Patterson, T Matt Kalil, S Harrison Smith, K Blair Walsh and DE Everson Griffen.
Cook, Diggs, Griffin, TE Kyle Rudolph and LB Eric Kendricks are among the impact players that the Vikings added outside of the first round.
Many of those players made an immediate impact, as four of the Vikings' first-round picks made the Pro Bowl in their first seasons. Wide receiver Percy Harvin was named Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2009 and is among 12 Vikings to have been named to the Pro Football Writers of America's All-Rookie Team from 2008-19.
They also found a pair of Pro Bowlers — Thielen and C.J. Ham — in college free agency.
Much of that young talent paid dividends in 2012, as the Vikings improved their 2011 record by seven wins to earn a wild-card berth. The team had three draft picks on the All-Rookie team that season.
Their pro scouting has been nearly as successful. During Paton's tenure, the Vikings have signed, traded for or re-signed nine players with a combined 15 Pro Bowl nods.
Minnesota's most notable addition arguably came in 2009, when they signed quarterback Brett Favre. The now-Hall of Famer led the Vikings to the NFC Championship and the brink of Super Bowl XLIV.
The Vikings also later traded for Sam Bradford and signed Kirk Cousins in free agency. After a 13-win season in 2017, the Vikings signed Cousins to a three-year contract. Cousins made the Pro Bowl in 2019 and has posted the league's seventh-best passer rating over the last three years.
Teddy Bridgewater, a 2014 first-round draft pick, also showed promise as he led the team to an 11-5 record and division title before suffering a serious knee injury during the team's 2016 training camp.
Prior to arriving in Minnesota, Paton spent six seasons with the Miami Dolphins as the team's Director of Pro Personnel. His first NFL job came in Chicago where he spent the 1997 season as a scouting assistant before ascending to Pro Scout in 1998-99 and Assistant Director of Pro Personnel in 2000-01.
Paton was born on May 5, 1970.