Sam DeLuca

Front Office Rumors: Vikings, DeLuca, Saints

The Vikings made a number of staff moves this past week. They’ve got one season under their belt with new head coach Kevin O’Connell and new general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, and Minnesota continues to make adjustments to the front office.

The first such adjustment was the release of a longtime staffer in director of football quantitative methods and pro scout Scott Kuhn. According to Seth Walder of ESPN, the two parties decided to part ways after 16 years together. Kuhn first came to Minnesota in 2007, following former general manager Rick Spielman in his move from Miami. The former Dolphins staffer worked his way through multiple roles in Minnesota before finally landing his most recent role back in 2016.

Here are few other front office moves from around the NFC, mostly coming out of the Twin Cities:

  • In further efforts to shape the front office to his liking, Adofo-Mensah brought a big piece over from Cleveland in Sam DeLuca, according to Neil Stratton of DeLuca had been with the Browns since 2013, serving mostly in the role of assistant director of pro scouting. He also spent some time with the Eagles before he joined Cleveland. In Minnesota, DeLuca will claim a role as the Vikings’ senior assistant director of pro personnel.
  • The Vikings will reportedly also be adding a new scout, according to Stratton. Minnesota is poaching Matt Kelly from the Senior Bowl staff, where he served as director of football operations. With the Vikings, Kelly will be the team’s new West Coast area scout.
  • Lastly, the Saints also parted ways with a longtime staffer, according to Jeff Duncan of The Times-Picayune, letting go of a top analytics researcher in Ryan Herman. Herman joined the Saints back in 2017 after working with New Orleans’ assistant general manager Jeff Ireland in Miami, when Ireland was the Dolphins’ general manager. Herman’s seven years in Miami culminated in his role as the director of football administration before taking the job in New Orleans. After six years with the Saints as the team’s head of football research and strategy, New Orleans allowed Herman’s contract to expire.

Jimmy Raye III Among Browns’ Front Office Hires

A regular on the general manager interview circuit, Jimmy Raye III is now working in the Browns’ front office. Among other changes, the Browns announced Thursday they brought in the veteran exec.

Raye and Browns GM Andrew Berry worked together with the Colts back in the mid-2010s, when the latter was beginning his rise to the GM level. Raye, 53, began his scouting time in 1996 and has held high-ranking positions with a few AFC franchises. Much of that time came with the Chargers, his employer from 1996-2012. Raye left the Bolts after lengthy tenures as their college scouting director and director of player personnel.

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Most recently, Raye worked with the Lions as a senior personnel executive. Hired during Bob Quinn‘s GM stay, Raye saw his Detroit tenure end in early 2021 — shortly after Brad Holmes took over the Lions’ front office. Prior to his time in Detroit, Raye worked as Houston’s assistant GM briefly and was Indianapolis’ VP of football ops from 2013-16. The latter two gigs led to Raye interviewing for GM jobs with the 49ers, Colts, Texans and Panthers from 2017-18. Raye, who was the Colts’ interim GM between Ryan Grigson and Chris Ballard‘s tenures, also interviewed for the Panthers’ assistant GM post last year.

The Browns also promoted Adam Al-Khayyal from assistant director of pro scouting to their pro scouting director post. Sam DeLuca will take over Al-Khayyal’s former job. Al-Khayyal and DeLuca have been with the franchise amid extensive front office overhauls, the former arriving in 2015 and the latter two years earlier. Sixth-year Browns staffer Tyler Hamblin will now serve as director of football operations.

After 10 years with the Dolphins, Chris Burford relocated to Cleveland to work as a national scout with the Browns. Burford spent the past three seasons as a southwest area scout with the AFC East franchise. The Browns are also moving Zach Ayers to the national-scout level; he spent the past six years overseeing the team’s West Coast scouting. Seventh-year Browns staffer Josh Cox will move into Ayers’ old role. Joe Dever will rise from scouting assistant to the team’s Mid-Atlantic area scout, with the team also announcing Matt Donahoe as its new southeast area scout.