ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) – The Denver Broncos have hired former Vikings scouting executive Kelly Kleine as executive director of football operations and special adviser to the general manager. That makes Kleine the highest-ranking woman in football operations at an NFL club. Additionally, she’s believed to be the highest-ranking female scouting executive in league history.

Kelly Kleine

Kelly Kleine (credit: Denver Broncos)

Kleine, who worked with Broncos first-year general manager George Paton for nine years in Minnesota, will have scouting duties and manage several departments, the team said.

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The Broncos said Kleine will “be involved in all aspects of the Broncos’ personnel department, including player evaluation, NFL Draft/free agency preparations and day-to-day football administration.”

Paton called Kleine “a rising star in the NFL.”

“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,” Paton said. “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 most recently served as the Vikings’ manager of player personnel/college scout from 2019-20.

A native of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, Kleine began her NFL career as a public relations intern with the Vikings in 2012 and was a scouting administration intern the following year.

A 2013 graduate of the University of Minnesota, Kleine was promoted to scouting assistant in 2014 and served as the Vikings’ college scouting coordinator from 2015-18.

By ARNIE STAPLETON, AP Pro Football Writer

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