With the Minnesota Vikings’ fate this season all but sealed following their 30-23 home loss to the Los Angeles Rams, the noise about an overhaul of the entire organization has never been louder. Folks are quick to rattle off the names of desired potential head coaches, but a potentially more critical decision that the Wilfs are currently faced with concerns who could lead the Vikings’ front office should they decide to part ways with Rick Spielman.
Flying under the radar over the past several seasons is Mike Borgonzi, an executive in the Kansas City Chiefs’ front office since 2009. Over this past summer, Borgonzi was elevated to assistant general manager. Before the promotion, Borgonzi held the title of director of football operations in 2020. When Chiefs owner Clark Hunt hired Andy Reid and his minions after his split from the Philadelphia Eagles following the 2012 season, Borgonzi was retained by the new regime.
Throughout Reid’s tenure in Kansas City, whispers of Borgonzi’s value have circulated around league circles. They became louder since the dawn of the Patrick Mahomes era and KC’s reign of dominance. Borgonzi has been credited with playing a critical role in finding tremendous value in the later rounds of the draft.
Check out what NFL Network’s Peter Schrager had to say about Borgonzi back in 2020.
And while Borgonzi’s resumé was rock-solid before this season, it’s only gotten better with Kansas City’s prized rookie class this year. The Chiefs spent a second-round pick on center Creed Humphrey and a sixth-round pick on right guard Trey Smith in 2021.
Pro Football Focus currently grades Humphrey as the best center in the league:
And Smith is currently graded as the ninth-best guard in the NFL:
In case you forgot while watching last year’s Super Bowl between the Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Kansas City ended the 2020 season with their offensive line in shambles. Tackles Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz were unavailable for the Super Bowl due to injury, and Kansas City’s offense was dominated by Tampa Bay’s nightmarish front seven. As a result, general manager Brett Veach, Borgonzi, and the Chiefs’ front office went to work on rebuilding Kansas City’s offensive line from scratch. While trading for tackle Orlando Brown and signing Joe Thuney in free agency brought veteran stability up front, the Chiefs hit an absolute grand slam with Humphrey and Smith.
Let’s not forget that even before Mahomes’ arrival in 2017, the Chiefs were widely regarded as a top-notch organization after winning 10-plus games in four of five seasons from 2013-17. Borgonzi reportedly played a huge part in steering the Chiefs to the following players:
- Lucas Niang: third round, 2020 (Kansas City’s current starting right tackle after sitting out 2020 due to COVID)
- L’Jarius Sneed: fourth round, 2020 (Kansas City’s starting nickel back)
- Juan Thornhill: second round, 2019
- Kareem Hunt: third round, 2017
- Chris Jones: second round, 2014
- Tyreek Hill: fifth round, 2014
- Travis Kelce: third round, 2013
- Justin Houston: third round, 2011
Putting aside Borgonzi’s ability to consistently find diamonds in the rough throughout NFL drafts, he understands how to build winning teams that have an unspoken preference towards prioritizing the offensive side of the ball. That’s what happens when Andy Reid is your organization’s head coach.
Pairing Borgonzi with any of Kellen Moore, Joe Brady, Doug Pederson, or even current Chiefs’ offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy makes a ton of sense if the Vikings want to reset organizational expectations and shift the focus to the offensive side of the ball. Pederson worked with Borgonzi in Kansas City from 2013-15.
And with Borgonzi’s track record of landing All-Pro-caliber defenders like Houston and Jones outside of the first round, it’s difficult to envision a scenario where a Borgonzi-led front office completely neglects the defense.
With the current front office’s inability to properly fix the woes of their offensive line over the years — despite investing significant draft capital into the unit — the hope would be that Borgonzi could provide yet another quick turnaround up front.
In a sense, Borgonzi is everything the Vikings need to become a consistent, stable contender within the conference, which is precisely what the Wilfs crave. Because that’s what the Chiefs have been since Reid, Veach, and then-general manager John Dorsey retained him following 2012.
If the Vikings pass on Borgonzi, it’s safe to say that another organization will swoop him up in a couple of weeks when the NFL coaching/front office carousel begins.
Say it with me now, Skoldiers: BOR-gon-Zeee.