Adrian Peterson rushing for 2,000 yards, Brett Favre putting on purple to lead the Vikings in 2009, and the Minneapolis Miracle from Case Keenum to Stefon Diggs all probably rank high among the greatest memories of Rick Spielman's career, but none of those are No. 1 on his list.
Visiting with KFAN FM 100.3's Paul Allen on Monday, Spielman, who was fired in January after nearly two decades with the Minnesota Vikings, said his fondest memory during his 30 years in the NFL happened years ago when his daughter, Whitney, who has cerebral palsy, scored a goal in soccer.
"I always refer to my daughter. When she was about 5 or 6 years old she was playing with all the other kids in a soccer game," said Spielman. "I'll never forget ... the most proud moment I think I have had is when they put my daughter Whitney out in center field and she actually kicked the ball and kicked it into the goal from center field on the opening kick.
"To see the parents that day, stand up and cheer for her," he continued, fighting back tears, "and for her, as a special needs daughter, to get that feeling that our players get every Sunday when they make a great play, and to see all the hugs and you as a special needs parent sitting there and seeing how she was recognized for something she did."
Spielman added: "I"ll never forget the look on her face that day, to have just scored that one goal – and that was the only goal she scored the whole year – but to have the opportunity to score a goal is something I know really touched my heart."
You can watch Spielman's emotional answer beginning at the 42:45 mark of the video in KFAN's tweet below.
Much of Spielman's hourlong visit on KFAN was spent discussing the human side of working in the NFL.
"I don't know if the fans realize, but your family lives and dies on every play on Sundays," said Spielman. "When I was released from the Minnesota Vikings, that was a very traumatic experience because Minnesota is our home.
"I've been very fortunate and very blessed to work with great ownership, to work with great coaches since I've been here. I can't tell you how I feel about Coach [Mike Zimmer] and the outstanding job he had done when he was here, that always put us in the best possible situation to win. But also, everybody in that building."
Spielman's house in the Twin Cities has gone on the market and he confirmed that he and his wife have purchased a home in Florida, where he'll continue to take some time before deciding what's next in his football life.
Whitney is one of six children Rick and Michele Spielman have adopted.