They’re in every front office; sprawling white boards checkered with placards and magnets. On these tags are player names, positions, and a smattering of notes, all meant to make sense of the jumble inside a general manager’s mind.
The job of an NFL franchise’s personnel department is no easy task; outside of scouting the future, they must develop the players within, slotting each into the correct position and role. Everyday tasks appear black-and-white, but most decisions made behind closed doors come amidst the gray.
Outside of a pure talent evaluation, there are the issues of locker room chemistry, salaries, tenure, and above all else, market value. The pressure to start a high-profile rookie, for example, may force the more talented, less exciting veteran out of a long-occupied place on the field.
Fortunately, not all front offices function this way. The Minnesota Vikings—specifically, general manager Rick Spielman—operate in a more judicious manner. Rookies don’t automatically see the field in their first year, veterans are rarely released out of the blue, and the 22 available positions in the starting lineup are never “on lock.”