It was announced on Saturday that former Vikings DE Chris Doleman was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and two prominent members of the Vikings family have weighed in to give their reaction.
“Having watched Chris enter the Vikings Ring of Honor this past season, we’re very excited that he has now been chosen as a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2012,” Vikings Owner/Chairman Zygi Wilf said. “Chris was a very important part of the organization’s success for ten years and his accomplishments on the field speak for themselves. He has earned this honor and we look forward to celebrating his enshrinement in Canton in August.”
A fellow Vikings Ring of Honor inductee and now a fellow Hall of Famer, John Randle has a special appreciation for Doleman because the two were both defensive linemen, were both outstanding pass rushers, and were teammates with the Vikings in the 1990s.
“I’m so, so happy for big Dole,” Randle said. “I never thought I would have a guy who was like a big brother on the football field, but Chris was that guy for me. I looked up to him and studied the way he worked. I’m so happy that he will be up on that stage in Canton this summer where he belongs. It’s really a testament to that defensive line we had with the Vikings during those days and the work of some great coaches. Chris deserves this so much and I’m probably more excited for him than he is for himself.”
Tags: Chris Doleman, John Randle, Zygi Wilf
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 12 Comments »
From the moment the Wilf family purchased the Vikings, they made clear their desire and intention to bring championship-caliber football to Minnesota. Through back-to-back division titles, a NFC title game appearances, losing seasons and winning seasons, the Wilfs and the Vikings organization remain on that quest.
On Tuesday, the Wilfs made a significant adjustment to the Vikings organizational structure by naming Rick Spielman as the team’s GM. It’s a move the Wilfs believe will help the Vikings achieve their primary goal – winning Super Bowls.
“We gave a lot of thought to the whole process,” Vikings Owner/President Mark Wilf said. “But knowing Rick and his body of work, and working with him so closely over the years, we felt that he was the right person for this position. We’re very confident that he and Leslie together will bring us the goal that we and all the fans want – that’s championships.”
Spielman has been with the club since May of 2006 as VP of Player Personnel, with the responsibility of overseeing the club’s pro and college scouting departments. In his new role, though, Spielman’s charge is to oversee all football-related activities and operations as well as the pro and college scouting departments.
Coming off consecutive 6-10 and 3-13 seasons, the Wilfs felt a new protocol and method of operation was needed to put the team in position to succeed. There was no one or two events that transpired recently that prompted the Wilf ownership group to alter its organizational structure. Rather, the Wilfs surveyed the NFL landscape to see what has worked for other clubs and cross-referenced that with what they felt would work well in Minnesota.
“It was a process over several months, through the season,” Wilf said. “As we got toward the end of the year, and we feel going forward to the future, looking at what’s successful in the League, and what we need to do to get better, there needs to be more consistency, purpose and accountability that needs to be more clarified. I do think we have the right people, and we sat together as ownership and felt that this structure had to be clarified.”
“Most importantly,” Zygi Wilf added, “it’s a long-term solution for the franchise. As Mark said, we’ve been successful in the past, but we felt that for the long-term progress and success of the ballclub, that the model that existed for successful teams (around the NFL) is the model we would follow.”
Building and maintaining a successful organizational structure and model is nothing new for the Wilf family. Zygi Wilf leads an ownership group with the Vikings that closely mirrors the structure that has led the Wilf family to national prominence in their business ventures with Garden Homes Development, a nationwide leader in retail, commercial and private residential development.
“We wanted to take a hard look at how we can be better,” Wilf said. “And we wanted to establish a clear organizational structure, and a consistency and purpose moving forward. We feel this is the structure and the move we need to make to get better as a football team and win championships.”
Tags: Mark Wilf, Rick Spielman, Zygi Wilf
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 127 Comments »
One of the biggest offseason priorities for the Vikings is no longer a priority. The team and C John Sullivan have agreed to a contract extension that will keep the 4-year veteran in Minnesota for the foreseeable future. Exact terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed.
“We are very excited about the future of John Sullivan,” Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier said. “He has quickly become a leader among the offensive linemen. John is having an outstanding 2011 season and he is a big part of why our rushing attack is near the top in the NFL. We are thrilled about having John as a member of the Minnesota Vikings for years to come.”
Sullivan was drafted by the Vikings in the 6th round of the 2008 NFL Draft and has worked his way from special teams player and reserve lineman as a rookie, to the starting center on the 2009 team that went to the NFC Championship, to now being one of the best and most consistent performers along the line. Sullivan, 26 years old and a product of the University of Notre Dame, has appeared in 58 games, with 42 starts.
This contract extension will keep the battery of Sullivan and rookie QB Christian Ponder together, as the team tries to strengthen a young offensive nucleus that already includes Percy Harvin, Adrian Peterson and Kyle Rudolph.
Congratulations to Sullivan and the Vikings on getting this deal accomplished before the offseason. Keeping Sullivan in Minnesota is a good deal for both parties.
Statements from the Wilfs
“John embodies a true Minnesota Viking, on and off the field. He is a valuable member to our team and a key part of our future. This is a big moment for John, and the Minnesota Vikings, we are very pleased a deal has been reached.” – Mark Wilf
“Over the last four years, John has contributed in countless ways to the Vikings organization. He has been very active in the community along with being a key member along our offensive line. John is a bright young man and we are fortunate to have him in the Vikings organization.” – Zygi Wilf
Tags: John Sullivan, Leslie Frazier, Mark Wilf, Zygi Wilf
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 85 Comments »
Vikings Owner/Chairman Zygi Wilf was in town on Wednesday and met with Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton. It’s been a busy week on the stadium front and the meeting between Wilf and Governor Dayton on Wednesday was the latest step of progress made on the stadium issue.
On Tuesday, NFL representatives met with the Governor and with State Lawmakers, a meeting that followed an announcement of intent to call a special session by Governor Dayton on Monday. By no means is the stadium issue approaching the finish line, but there’s no denying the progress that’s being made. The Vikings are grateful to Governor Dayton and other key state leaders who’ve taken leadership and moved the discussion forward.
Here is a statement released by the Vikings late Wednesday afternoon regarding the meeting between Governor Dayton and Mr. Wilf.
“The Vikings and Owner/Chairman Zygi Wilf are very pleased with today’s discussion with Governor Dayton. We are appreciative of the Governor’s willingness to move the issue forward this fall and the interest by legislative leaders to work collaboratively with all parties toward a final solution.
As we knew the Governor would be making a statement to the media this afternoon following the conclusion of his various stadium-related meetings, we felt we should withhold comment, out of respect to the Governor, until he spoke to the media first.
Today’s constructive conversation was a continuation of several positive stadium developments in the last few days. The Vikings are committed to doing whatever we can, along with our local partner Ramsey County, the Legislature, Governor, our fans and the citizens of Minnesota to finalize a viable stadium proposal and begin construction as quickly as possible.”
Tags: New Stadium, Zygi Wilf
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 36 Comments »
As disappointing as the 2010 season was for the Vikings, January 3 of 2011 represents an even brighter moment for the franchise’s future. Leslie Frazier was named head coach and he’ll look to guide the Vikings back to success.
The announcement came around 2:00 p.m. today and was followed by a 4:15 p.m. press conference that saw Zygi Wilf introduce Frazier as head coach. In introducing Frazier, Mr. Wilf mentioned that the Vikings new head coach is a natural leader and possesses the qualities necessary to be a successful head coach in the NFL.
Frazier then spoke with reporters and projected his excitement and ambition for his new job. Frazier said being an NFL head coach is a dream come true and he said the Vikings represented the perfect situation for him. This is significant because Frazier has been a candidate for several other head coaching jobs in recent seasons, so he’s seen the gamut of situations. He thinks the situation in Minnesota is one in which he can be successful.
Following the press conference, both Frazier and Mark Wilf stepped into Sports Authority Studios for chats. We’ll have those posted on vikings.com for you tomorrow. Frazier also spent time with Twin Cities media outlets and both Zygi and Mark Wilf met with a small group of reporters.
That basically caps what’s been an exciting day at Winter Park. Be sure to check out vikings.com and now and tomorrow to watch Monday’s press conference in on-demand format as well as those interviews with Frazier and Mark Wilf. Tomorrow we’ll have more coverage and reaction of Frazier being named head coach as well as our normal postseason coverage.
For now, goodnight from Winter Park.
Tags: Leslie Frazier, Mark Wilf, Zygi Wilf
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 120 Comments »
Vikings Owner/Chairman Zygi Wilf is in Orland at the annual NFL Owners’ Meetings, which is why you’ve likely heard sound bites or quotes from him on several league issues – including the proposed change to the structure of overtime.
Another issue that Wilf has commented on, however, is his starting QB – Brett Favre – and whether or not #4 will return for his 2nd season with the club in 2010.
Both Head Coach Brad Childress and VP of Player Personnel Rick Spielman have indicated this offseason that they are willing to be patient with Favre and give him the time he needs to make a decision on his return. Wilf is on the same page and echoed those sentiments to Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune.
“I really don’t know at this time but like I said before I’d love to have him back and [we’ll] just give him the time necessary to make that decision,” Wilf told Zulgad.
While speaking with Zulgad, Wilf also said that he hasn’t spoken with Favre this offseason but that at some point down the road he might just reach out to the future Hall of Famer.
Tags: Rick Spielman, Zygi Wilf
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 25 Comments »
While speaking publicly for the first time since the NFC Championship Game on Jan. 24, Vikings owner Zygi Wilf proclaimed that the team is not cutting back on spending on players this year. Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune reports that Wilf wanted to make this clear to fans, especially after the loss of RB Chester Taylor and OL Artis Hicks to free agency.
“We spend when it’s appropriate,” Wilf said. “I work with my guys. When we want somebody, we go after them; that’s the way we’ve been doing it, and we’ll continue to do so when the time comes. When the opportunity arises and when the time comes, we will go out and get that person, but right now we’re really working on the draft.”
The Vikings owner has been known to not hold back when it comes to getting players that he, team executives and coaches feel will make their team into a championship-caliber team, regardless of the cost. Big-name players that have been brought to Minnesota since the Wilfs bought the team include DE Jared Allen, G Steve Hutchinson and QB Brett Favre.
Wilf also spoke of his hopes that the Legislature will get a Vikings stadium bill passed this year.
“I feel like we’re coming into what’s really needed to get this thing done, from the standpoint of the type of stadium that we want and the location that we want, and we’re right now working on the finance package,” Wilf said. “I think there’s a way to get this thing done this year, so I’m excited on that front.”
Tags: Jared Allen, Steve Hutchinson, Zygi Wilf
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Although the presence of 6 Pro Bowlers, one of the league’s most dynamic rookies and a 10-6 record last year to go along with a division title already gave the Vikings high-profile status as they entered the 2009 season, there’s no denying that the addition of QB Brett Favre last week has increased the club’s profile moving forward.
Many times, an increase in profile lends itself to an increase in expectations. And, generally speaking, that was the feeling conveyed this past week from a variety of sources…except the Vikings locker room.
“Our goals haven’t changed,” Vikings 6-time Pro Bowl G Steve Hutchinson said earlier this week. “We want to build on what we did last year.”
Hutchinson was sincere in saying the team’s goals haven’t changed, even with the addition of a Hall of Fame signal caller. Don’t get me wrong, I am in the camp that says the addition of Favre makes the Vikings a better team. But I also submit, along with Hutchinson, that the Vikings goals for this season have not changed. With or without Favre, the Vikings were in a position to strive for another division championship and hold the ultimate goal of representing the NFC in the Super Bowl.
Vikings Owner/Chairman Zygi has said he has great expectations for this team, and he expressed that opinion as a seal of approval to this point rather than an ultimatum to his club.
“I have great expectations,” Wilf said during training camp. “Again, we fought hard last year, came back many times when people doubted us and we did it with different combinations with different guys injured. To have those guys come back healthy for the most part and be able to start off the season as division champs, we look forward to holding on to that and doing better things.”
Tags: Steve Hutchinson, Zygi Wilf
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 12 Comments »
Judd Zulgad and Chip Scoggins have a couple of interesting entries in their “Access Vikings” blog since last night, including reaction from Vikings Owner/Chairman Zygi Wilf on what was quite an eventful week.
“That Tuesday was some day,” Wilf told the Star Tribune during pregame activities on Friday night. “We did not know [he was coming back], so that’s really what happened. Going to training camp we thought that the decision was final on Brett’s part but happily things work out when you least expect it and he’s here with us tonight.”
Although Wilf acknowledged that this past week was exciting, he came short of calling it the most exciting week of his time as the Vikings owner.
“I tell you the most exciting week was when we won the division last year and hopefully we can build on that,” he said. “Like we always said, we want to make our team better and whoever we bring in, including Brett, I think our team will be better. So, we look forward to a great season and we want to repeat as division champs. We have a lot to look forward to and a lot to fight for.”
On another note, Zulgad said in his latest entry that Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress gave his players Saturday and Sunday off and that the team will report back to Winter Park on Monday but won’t practice until Tuesday.
Tags: Zygi Wilf
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 4 Comments »
The man literally responsible for getting QB Brett Favre to Minnesota today spoke to reporters following the introductory press conference.
The effort to land Favre was collaborative among the front office and Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress, but when the time came to actually get Favre to Minnesota, ownership stepped in.
“My brother, myself and my son went down to Hattiesburg to pick up Brett and his wife,” Wilf said. “We had a great conversation coming up here and realized what a down-to-earth person he was. And we realized more so than ever that he’ll be a great fit for our team.
“We felt the opportunity was now to do it,” Wilf said. “We did not want to go in the future and say ‘What if?’ In speaking to Brett, he felt the same way. I think the fans and everyone should be quite excited about how our team keeps improving. We will do our best to fight for our division and hopefully be that consistent championship-caliber ball club that we hope to become.”
Tags: Mark Wilf, Zygi Wilf
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 10 Comments »