In the midst of a fall that has taken them from a 5-0 start to a record of 6-7 and being on the brink of post-season elimination, the Atlanta Falcons are reportedly thinking about making changes to their front office. According to one prominent source, one of the favorites to replace him is currently employed by the Minnesota Vikings.
George Paton, the Vikings' assistant General Manager (as opposed to the assistant to the General Manager), is one of two people named by Jason LaCanfora of CBS Sports as candidates to replace current Falcons' GM Thomas Dimitroff. Falcons' owner Arthur Blank is reportedly committed to first-year head coach Dan Quinn, and may be looking to shake things up higher in the ranks.
Paton (pronounced like "Patton") is in his eighth season of working with the Vikings. He has worked with current Vikings' GM Rick Spielman at his stops in both Chicago and Miami. He has declined several interviews over the past couple of years for GM positions, including interviews with the Chicago Bears, the New York Jets, and the St. Louis Rams.
The other person that LaCanfora lists as a favorite for the job is Thomas Kirchner, who currently serves as the director of pro personnel for the Seattle Seahawks.
Paton seems to be happy with being Spielman's right-hand man at this point, given the number of opportunities he's turned down. Still, with a Falcons' team that has a first-year head coach and is moving into a new stadium soon, perhaps the Atlanta job would be enticing enough for him to jump ship.
Of course, the Falcons would have to fire Dimitroff first. There hasn't been any indication at this time that they're going to do that for certain, but with the way the Falcons have collapsed this season, apparently ownership thinks that changes need to be made.