Vikings lead owner Zygi Wilf recently had an interview with Vikings senior sports writer - Sid Hartman - and had a few words that doubtless made an impression across the organization:
“I expect to be in the playoffs this year and, as every year, reach for that championship.”
While every NFL team owner wants to win the Super Bowl every year, Wilf has not been particularly vocal in the past about his expectations, and his saying he expects to be in the playoffs this year could be seen as a warning that changes will come if the Vikings don’t make the playoffs this year. Odds-makers currently have the Vikings on the bubble to make the playoffs this season.
Hartman added that the Wilfs have been the best ownership group in town when it comes to spending money trying to win a championship, and are looking for a better return on that investment this year than they got last season.
But while all that may seem ominous, or at least a shot across the bow, Wilf himself remains particularly optimistic about the upcoming season:
“We are going into our 15th year and I’m always optimistic but this year I am especially optimistic about the direction we’re going. I’m looking for a good year.”
The Wilfs have owned the Vikings since 2005, and since then have managed to do what the previous owner failed to do: build a new world class stadium for the Vikings. The Wilfs have added to that by building the Vikings a world-class training facility as well - TCO Performance Center - providing the Vikings and their fans with the most state-of-the-art venues worldwide.
Zygi Wilf also talked about his new coaching investments made this off-season, which Sid wrote, “couldn’t have come cheap,” referring to Gary Kubiak and Company:
“They are great, they’re really helping with our players and we are ready to go,” he said. “Every time you have people with the intelligence, the football intelligence, as these guys have, it rubs off on everybody and everybody understands what to do. There is more supervision and more teaching and everybody can get better.”
On player acquisitions during the off-season, Wilf had this to say:
“We got better in every area of our game,” he said, “and I think we’re up for this year to be a good year.”
Lastly, when asked about how the Vikings can improve on the 8-7-1 record of last season, Wilf simply said, “Win the close games.”
Odds-makers currently have Mike Zimmer, who’s never been fired in his coaching career and was extended another year this off-season, as tied for the 6th most likely coach to first leave his post this season. Perhaps last year’s disappointing finish, combined with a former Super Bowl winning head coach currently on staff, could lead some to speculation that a poor start could lead to a coaching change.
Wilf’s comments don’t rule that out, but we’ll have to wait and see. Another trip deep into the post-season could lead to contract extensions, while another poor season could lead to some changes.
It’s the NFL, after all.
If the Vikings don’t make the playoffs this year, who would you rather have be head coach next season?
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