Vikings Women Rise Football

In this Sept. 5, 2017, photo, Kelly Kleine, now Denver's executive director of football operations/special advisor to the general manager, then the Minnesota Vikings coordinator of college scouting, watches during NFL practice in Eden Prairie, Minn. Kleine started with the Vikings as a public relations intern but spent the last five years in the scouting department and has gradually added more responsibilities. She also works with special teams to evaluate players in addition to organizing the scouting department. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

The Broncos hired Kelly Kleine as their executive director of football operations/special advisor to the general manager, the team announced Monday.

Kleine has spent the past 10 seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, serving various roles in the front office. She is believed to be the highest-ranking female scouting executive in the NFL. She officially started with the Broncos on Monday. 

"Kelly is a rising star in the NFL, and we're fortunate to add someone of her caliber to the Denver Broncos," Broncos GM George Paton said. "Having worked with her for nine years in Minnesota, Kelly has a strong understanding of all aspects of football operations and player evaluation along with outstanding leadership qualities. She will be a tremendous resource with her experience on the pro and college sides as well as her knowledge of our grading scale and football calendar."

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Kleine will primarily serve as a liaison for football operations, while also being heavily involved in the scouting department, including the personnel department, player evaluations, the draft, free agency preparations and day-to-day football administration. She'll also oversee the Broncos' video and equipment departments.

In Minnesota, Kleine was regarded as one of the organization' top executives and scouts, primarily in the Midwest region, scouting players from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Montana and the Dakotas.

“She’s a critical part of everything we do,” said Vikings GM Rick Spielman in a story about Kleine written by TwinCities.com. “Everything revolves around her in the office on the college side. She makes sure everything is ready for our meetings. She runs the draft board. She does a lot of things and directs a lot of traffic. We probably couldn’t function without her in the room.”

Kleine started her NFL career as a Vikings scouting intern in 2013, was promoted to a scouting assistant in 2014 and was Minnesota's college scouting coordinator from 2015-18. She was the manager of player personnel and college scout for the past two seasons.

"Kelly has played a significant role in our player personnel department since starting as an intern in 2013," the Vikings said in a statement. "While we will certainly miss her in Minnesota, we wish her nothing but the best as she continues her career in Denver." 

Before working with the Vikings, she attended the University of Minnesota, where she worked in the athletics department as a communications intern and graduated in 2013. In high school, she was a three-sport athlete, playing basketball, softball and golf for Wisconsin's Sheboygan North High school. 

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