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Could Kevin Warren be the NFL’s next Commissioner?

The Vikings brought back some key pieces this offseason, but a lack of depth may keep Minnesota from bouncing back after a disappointing 2018 campaign.

Vikings COO Kevin Warren soon will become the Commissioner of the Big 10. In a profile of Warren, Daniel Kaplan of raises this question: Could Warren be the next Commissioner of the NFL?

Kaplan, citing unnamed sources with “close ties to the NFL,” writes that those persons view Warren as a “future Commisioner,” and that his upcoming Big 10 job will “be only a steppingstone, not a final stop.”

Consultant Marc Ganis, who has close ties to the NFL, tells Kaplan that Warren is “one of those handful of people that are in the NFL right now that could very well be considered as a future Commissioner.”

Warren’s name has indeed come up regarding the possibility of becoming the next Commissioner. Two other names that also have emerged on the grapevine include NFL Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy & Growth Officer Chris Halpin and, somewhat surprisingly, Hall of Fame defensive back Aeneas Williams.

Williams was spotted at the annual meetings in Arizona, and that’s where the chatter of Williams potentially succeeding Goodell first surfaced.

The NFL seems to be intent on naming a Commissioner with extensive football ties and history, in lieu of finding a professional CEO who may have no prior connection to the NFL. As the league grows, so does the importance of considering options beyond the shell of people with experience working for, in, or around the NFL and one or more of its teams. While it’s important to have people who know the business in key positions of leadership, the ultimate leader of the game need not be someone who has spent decades, years, months, or even weeks working in or playing football.