Scott Studwell retiring after 42 years with Vikings

One of Rick Spielman’s closest friends and confidants is calling it quits with the Minnesota Vikings after 42 years in the organization as a player and scout.

Scott Studwell made it official on Tuesday as the Vikings prepare for the NFL Draft. He is retiring at the end of May, when his current contract with the Vikings is due to expire. He’s been a college scout with Minnesota since his playing career ended in 1991.

He plans mostly on spending more time with his family. That includes his wife, Jenny, their kids and grandkids. It’s something he’s missed a lot of in 28 years as a scout.

“Being gone 225 nights a year and spending a life on the road is not easy on her and wasn’t easy on the kids. I missed a lot of time with my kids and that is something I have to make up for. I also owe it to my grandkids. It’s just I am at a point in my life where a lot of things have hit home in the last eight months,” Studwell said. “We’ve lost a lot of good friends here at the Minnesota Vikings, which really kind of hit home with me. That made this decision easier.”

Studwell came to the Vikings in 1977 after being selected in the ninth round of the NFL Draft. He spent 14 seasons at linebacker for the Vikings, and retired in a playing capacity as the team’s all-time leading tackler.

He holds team records for tackles in a season with 230 in 1981, and single-game tackles with 24 against the Detroit Lions in 1985. He retired with 1,981 career tackles and was a two-time Pro Bowl selection.

"I came up here in 1977 with a lot of big dreams and had absolutely no idea what was going to happen. After seven weeks of hell in Mankato, I managed to make the football team," Studwell said. "The rest is kind of history."

Studwell was named to the Vikings 25th and 40th anniversary teams, and was named one of the 50 Greatest Vikings in 2010. Studwell was named to the Vikings Ring of Honor and played in 214 career games with Minnesota, including 12 playoff games.

He joked that if he suffered a concussion during his 14-year playing career, he doesn’t know because he doesn’t remember it.

He also said he hasn’t had any bone replacements or any major surgeries since retiring from playing.

“There aren’t any artificial parts. To play as long as I played and to have the production, I guess, that I had, I was very lucky to stay healthy. I was blessed with some pretty good genes from two wonderful parents,” Studwell said. “It’s been sad to see how some of these guys have struggled mentally, physically. I’ve lost some good friends. I’ve lost some great teammates. Right now, knock on wood, I can keep going at a good, steady pace and not fall ill to some of the problems that these guys have had.”

Spielman said he’s had multiple conversations with Studwell to try and keep him in his scouting role, but the time has come for him to step away.

“My brother was such a big Minnesota Viking fan because he loved watching Scott Studwell play. The passion, the heart, the determination that he played with. He took that same approach since he’s been in the front office, since 1991,” Spielman said.

It turns out Studwell had a pretty good eye for talent as well when he stayed with the Vikings as a scout in 1991. In those 28 years, Studwell has been involved with drafting 230 players to the Vikings. Of those, 14 were 30-time All-Pro players. There were another 28 that accounted for 63 Pro Bowl honors, and 24 players were named to the All-Rookie team.

“I am so fortunate and I am so grateful for the opportunity that I’ve had to spend this amount of time with this organization. It’s been a phenomenal run. It really has,” Studwell said. “I hope I’ve just given back a portion to this organization from what I’ve received from them.”

It’s going to have a much different feel for Spielman and the Vikings next year, when Studwell is not involved in the draft and scouting process.

“He’s a great husband, great father and unbelievable grandfather. It’s time, you can’t replace a Scott Studwell in your organization, that’s an impossible task to do,” Spielman said. “It’ll be very difficult for our staff moving forward without him being part of this process, in that room.”