Trailblazers 2017: Kevin Warren, COO of the Minnesota Vikings

Kevin Warren of the Minnesota Vikings // Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Vikings

Kevin Warren of the Minnesota Vikings // Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Vikings

It’s been a season full of success stories for the Minnesota Vikings on the field, but one of the organization’s brightest stars shines outside the lines. Kevin Warren came to the Vikings in 2005 after representing the Wilf family in the $600 million purchase from previous owner Red McCombs while working for the international law firm Greenberg Traurig.

The Vikings hired Warren as their executive vice president of legal affairs and chief administrative officer in 2005 and he’s enjoyed a meteoric rise since then. He’s been appointed to multiple league committees by National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell, and became the first African-American to hold the position of chief operating officer of an NFL team when the Vikings named him their COO in 2015. He’s currently the highest ranking African American executive in the NFL.

As COO for the Purple, Warren has played vital roles in the development of both U.S. Bank Stadium, the Twin Cities Orthopedics Center—the future administrative home for the Vikings set to open in Eagan in 2018—and bringing Super Bowl LII to Minneapolis this February. He and his wife Greta have also been fixtures in the Twin Cities community and have founded a number of different charities and causes.

Warren’s first big role in the NFL came with the St. Louis Rams in 1997. Head coach Dick Vermeil hired Warren as the team’s vice president of player programs and legal counsel. A few years later, the Rams won Super Bowl XXXIV with the team dubbed “The Greatest Show on Turf.”

“There’s no limitation for Kevin,” the Super Bowl champion Vermeil was quoted as saying in a recent profile of Warren written by the Star Tribune’s Jim Souhan. “I’ve never been around an administrative executive who was more capable of becoming a Number 1 person in any field.”

Warren has a long list of awards and honors and his hard work and dedication will be on full display for the world to see when Super Bowl LII kicks off at U.S. Bank Stadium on February 4, 2018.

Trailblazers are the people, ideas, businesses, and organizations doing necessary, important, and groundbreaking work in the realms of food, drink, and culture. See the rest of The Growler’s 2017 Trailblazers here.