Vikings president excited about upcoming season
MANKATO, Minn. -- Adrian Peterson is back. Teddy Bridgewater has plenty of potential. And Mark Wilf is fired up. Wilf, the Minnesota Vikings' owner and president whose family bought the team in 2005, was an enthused spectator in training camp Tue...
MANKATO, Minn. - Adrian Peterson is back. Teddy Bridgewater has plenty of potential. And Mark Wilf is fired up.
Wilf, the Minnesota Vikings’ owner and president whose family bought the team in 2005, was an enthused spectator in training camp Tuesday at Minnesota State Mankato.
“I would say, personally, it’s the most excited I’ve been since we purchased the team,” Wilf said of the upcoming season.
Peterson, the star running back, has returned after missing all but one game last season because of a child-abuse incident, and much is expected from Bridgewater in his second year at quarterback. Wilf, though, stopped sort of making any predictions on how far the Vikings can go.
“There’s a lot of hard work ahead,” he said. “The optimism comes not just so much about the talent (on the team) but also what we have in terms of organizationally, structurally. We have a (general manager in Rick Spielman) and a coach (in Mike Zimmer) and a coaching staff we believe in. We feel we have a pool of talent.”
Wilf’s brother, team chairman Zygi Wilf, expressed similar excitement last month. He said the Vikings “can win the Super Bowl,” although he didn’t want that to be considered a prediction.
It was the first time Mark Wilf has spoken to the media since Peterson returned to the team June 2. Wilf said he isn’t surprised that Peterson, who had been wary about returning earlier in the year, now seems very content after having his contract recently reworked to include guaranteed money.
“We’re happy Adrian is back,” Wilf said. “Obviously, he’s a unique talent and a good person, and we’re happy he’s here playing for us, and we can’t wait for the season to get going. ... He’s had a long, good history with the Vikings and with the community, and we know what the kind of person Adrian is, so (the saga regarding the child-abuse incident) is in the rear-view mirror.”
What apparently won’t be in the rear-view mirror is the Vikings’ association with Mankato. The Vikings are here for the 50th consecutive season, and Wilf is optimistic about an agreement being reached to extend the contract beyond this year.
“We’re in the process of talking to the folks here and looking to extend that relationship here,” Wilf said.
While the Vikings plan to remain in Mankato for training camp next year, they will move into the brand-new U.S. Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis during the season. Wilf toured the $1.06 billion facility on Monday, and continued to be impressed.
“I’m amazed every couple of weeks I visit here just how much progress is going on,” said Wilf, who lives in New Jersey. “We’re very thankful for all the hard work all the workers, thousands of workers that are doing such an amazing job, and a lot of progress that I think our fans driving by can see. Our No. 1 goal has always been the best fan experience, to get to be a world-class organization. I think this stadium is a big step in getting us there.”
This fall, the Vikings will play their second full season at TCF Bank Stadium on the University of Minnesota campus.