George Paton is inching closer toward potentially leaving Minnesota after 14 years with the Vikings.
Paton is heading to Denver for a second interview with the Broncos for their vacant general manager job, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported Tuesday.
Paton has been a popular name in general manager hiring cycles for some time now, annually completing multiple interviews with various teams occupying the executive carousel, but ultimately has always decided sticking with Rick Spielman is his best option. He most recently interviewed with the Cleveland Browns, where he would have followed coach Kevin Stefanski from Minnesota, but pulled his name out of consideration after his in-person interview, leading to Cleveland's hiring of Andrew Berry.
This cycle has seen Paton interview with both Denver and Detroit. He has ties to both organizations, with Spielman's brother, Chris, recently joining the Lions as a special assistant to Lions president/CEO Rod Wood and participating in Detroit's interview process for GM and head coach. Paton's nephew, Rob, is a college and pro scout for the Broncos.
Pelissero recently called Paton "one of the most universally respected personnel men in the entire NFL" when speaking with the Broncos' official team site. He's been in the NFL since 2000 and with the Vikings for over a dozen years, working alongside GM Rick Spielman as Minnesota's assistant GM.
Denver's GM job became available when John Elway promoted himself out of the role, moving to a higher position with a less demanding set of personnel responsibilities. A second interview for Paton would seem to indicate things are getting serious between the two parties, though Paton has reached this point in the past before pulling out of consideration.
We'll see if this is the year he finally leaves Spielman and the Vikings for the big chair with another organization.