And then there were two.
Packers executive Brian Gutekunst elimnated himself from the race for the 49ers' general manager job by signing a new deal to stay in Green Bay, leaving just Vikings executive George Paton and Cardinals executive Terry McDonough in the running for the position, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Friday.
Paton is expected to meet with the 49ers and Kyle Shanahan -- San Francisco's expected new head coach -- next week, Rapoport reported on NFL Total Access. If the two sides find themselves to be a good fit, it's expected the Niners will offer Paton the job, Rapoport said.
Paton spent the last decade working with the Vikings, serving most recently as assistant general manager under Vikings GM Rick Spielman, who has held that title for six seasons. Spielman has built a young, relatively deep Vikings team that is anchored by a defense that was ferocious for much of the regular season. Paton's time with Spielman goes back to when the two worked together in Chicago and Miami more than a decade prior, and would offer a fresh, draft-focused take on a team in the Niners that has a few pieces but needs many, many more.
The Niners' front office position is the last to be filled, as is the head coaching position, although it's presumed that is only because Shanahan's Atlanta Falcons have yet to see their season end. The waiting game continues into the weekend, but if Atlanta doesn't claim the NFC crown, the new regime could be in place by the middle of next week, if not sooner.