Kevin Warren is an attorney and professional sports executive. He is currently the Chief Operating Officer of the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League, and is the highest-ranking African-American executive working on the business side for an NFL team. In 2015, Warren became the first black chief operating officer of an NFL team.
As a young boy, Kevin was struck by a car and forced into traction and a body cast for many months. Doctors informed Warren that there was a chance he might not walk again, and therefore it was highly unlikely that he would ever fulfill any dreams he had of playing sports. Warren recovered and went on to be recruited to play college basketball.
Following his graduation from GCU, Kevin Warren attended Arizona State University where he earned his Master of Business Administration (MBA) in 1988. He subsequently attended the University of Notre Dame Law School where he earned his Juris Doctor (J.D.) in 1990.
Warren earned GTE/CoSida Second Team Academic All-America honors as a senior and added NAIA Academic All-America & NAIA District 7 Basketball Team honors as both a junior and senior. He posted a cumulative 3.49 GPA while at GCU. In March, 2012, Warren was honored as the 16th individual, and the 5th member from the University’s basketball team, to be inducted into the Grand Canyon University Athletics Hall of Fame.
Kevin Warren began his law career at Bond, Schoeneck & King in Overland Park, Kansas (1990–91). As an associate there, he received his first exposure to sports law. The firm specialized in representing universities that were charged with NCAA violations. While at the firm, Warren worked with former Southeastern Conference Commissioner, Michael Slive, and collegiate sports attorney Mike Glazier on many high profile cases.
Kevin F. Warren & Associates (1992–1997)
In 1991, while teaching a class at Notre Dame, Warren befriended All-American defensive lineman Chris Zorich. In 1992, Warren established his own sports and entertainment agency, Kevin Warren & Associates in Overland Park, Kansas, with Zorich becoming his first client. Warren also represented Hall of Fame, Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman Will Shields. During his time in Kansas City, Warren also served as an adjunct professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law.
St. Louis Rams (1997–2001)
In 1997, Warren was hired by then St. Louis Rams head coach Dick Vermeil in a legal/front office position. Kevin Warren held the position of Vice President of Player Programs/Football Legal Counsel for the St. Louis Rams from 1997 to 2000 before his promotion to Vice President of Football Administration. Working closely with Vermeil, Warren gained insight into how football operations functioned. Warren credits this experience for providing him with priceless knowledge and credits Coach Vermeil for providing him his big break into the NFL. Kevin Warren earned a Super Bowl Ring with the Rams when they defeated the Tennessee Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV. Vermeil praised Warren in 2012 as being "as critical and important a part of the Rams Super Bowl Championship team as anybody in the organization."
Detroit Lions (2001–2003)
In 2001, Warren joined the Detroit Lions as the Senior Vice President of Business Operations & General Counsel. During his stint with the Lions, Warren was recognized by Crain’s Detroit Business on their ͞40 Under 40͟ list, which honored the top 40 Detroit business leaders under the age of 40.
Greenberg Traurig (2003–2005)
Following his time with the Lions, Warren returned to Phoenix where he worked for the international law firm Greenberg Traurig. In this role Warren represented the Wilf family and Minnesota Vikings ownership group in what became a successful $600 million deal to purchase the Minnesota Vikings. Zygi Wilf and five partners purchased the Minnesota Vikings from Red McCombs in 2005. Forbes estimated the 2016 value of the franchise at US $2.2 billion.
Minnesota Vikings (2005–present)
After representing the Vikings’ new ownership group in their purchase of the team, the Vikings then hired Warren as their Executive Vice President of Legal Affairs and Chief Administrative Officer in 2005. In 2007, NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell appointed Warren to the NFL’s working group on emergency planning. In September 2013, Warren was named a member of the NFL Committee on Workplace Diversity, which is committed to enhancing and promoting diversity at every level of the NFL. He continues to serve on this committee today.
In February 2015, Warren was promoted to the role of Chief Operating Officer. As COO, he oversees all aspects of the business operations of the franchise. He has restructured the management of the organization, which includes creating new senior leadership positions, overseeing administration and finance, human resources, legal, marketing and fan engagement, and sales and corporate sponsorships. Warren also serves as a member of the Vikings’ internal stadium development team and represents the team at NFL meeting. U.S. Bank Stadium and Twin Cities Orthopedic Performance Center
As COO of the Minnesota Vikings, Warren oversaw the team’s long running quest for a new stadium, to be named U.S. Bank Stadium, the largest public/private construction project in Minnesota's history. Warren was instrumental in selecting designers, developers, legal advisors and the Vikings' interim location for play, TCF Bank Stadium, while their new $1.13 billion stadium was under construction. The Vikings began the 2016 NFL season in the new venue. Even before construction was completed, U.S. Bank Stadium was awarded Super Bowl LII.
Warren is also responsible for overseeing the ongoing construction of the Vikings' new practice facility, Twin Cities Orthopedic Performance Center, set to open in March of 2018. He was also responsible for negotiating the naming rights of the state-of-the art facility. The facility will span 40-acres and include administrative offices for Vikings staff; a 6,000 person capacity outdoor stadium; five outdoor practice fields; an indoor practice facility; a media center; expanded locker room, weight room, & equipment facilities; cardiovascular and specialized speed rooms; a hydrotherapy room; and post-workout recovery rooms. The facility is only the first phase in a planned 200-acre development which is expected to include offices, retail, residential, hospitality, and a conference center. The Vikings’ headquarters will be the development's anchor.
Norton Rose Fulbright
In addition to his duties with the Vikings, he is also Of Counsel at Norton Rose Fulbright, an international law firm with more than 3,500 lawyers working in over 50 cities across six continents.
Warren and his wife Greta have also "adopted" Lucy Craft Laney Community School in Minneapolis, Minnesota. For each of the past 5 years, the Warrens have donated hundreds of backpacks filled with school supplies to the student body. Among the resources they have contributed are school supplies, school uniforms, and athletic uniforms.
In 2017, the Warrens established the No Doors Closed Scholarships which aims to give 4 first generation college students a better chance to succeed.