The Vikings owner is upbeat about hopes for a new stadium and says the Childress-Favre spat is overblown.
Zygi Wilf, the owner of the Vikings, believes all the talk about any bad relationship between coach Brad Childress and quarterback Brett Favre has been blown out of proportion and isn't any concern of his.
Wilf would rather talk about the fact that the Vikings are 11-3 and have won back-to-back division titles for the first time since the 1970s.
"To win our division back-to-back for the first time in 31 years is a great achievement," Wilf said. "It's reached a milestone to where we want to be this time of year, and right now we control our own destiny.
"We win four and we're in the Super Bowl. We're going to have to take it one day at a time, but it's great to be in this position, and all the talk about us -- whatever the talk's [between Favre and Childress] been going on the past week -- has definitely been blown out of proportion. We're going to work hard to win this game [against the Bears on Monday night] and move on."
Naturally, Wilf wanted to win the games at Arizona and Carolina, but he realizes that every team is trying to play its best against the Vikings.
"You know, every team is tough," Wilf said. "And every team wants to prove, no matter how their season went, that when they play a team of the Vikings' caliber, they want to show everyone that they can be among the best. So every game is important, whether you're shooting for the playoffs or whether you want to prove to the other teams that you can stand up with them even though you might be out.
"I think we've had a great year, and we have a lot more to prove. Our goal has been, and always will be, to get that championship game and move on to the Super Bowl. We couldn't ask for it to be in a better position than we are right now."
As for the future of Favre, Wilf said he will do everything he can to bring back the 40-year-old quarterback next year.
Wilf is even optimistic about a stadium being built for the Vikings.
"There has been a lot more engagement by the leaders on the hill, by the people who are involved," he said, "and I think that as we continue having the dialogue and discussing the potential solutions to the stadium issue, I think we'll come together and work it out.
"Nothing is ever easy when it comes to issues like that. We're going to have to work together collectively to find a solution. I've seen a tremendous pickup in involvement by everyone concerned to get this moving and find the answers."Gophers break even
The Gophers had a combined men's and women's intercollegiate athletic budget of $75 million the past season, and as it turned out, they broke even, according to figures available from the department for the fiscal year of 2008-09.
Men's sports showed a profit of $25,367,671 (football made $16,337,284, basketball $7,843,045 and hockey $4,059,101) despite the fact that the minor sports showed losses (golf lost $311,368, baseball $956,145, gymnastics $474,725, tennis $381,559 and wrestling $747,962).
None of the women's sports made money. Basketball lost the most, $1,623,403, followed by volleyball at $913,933 and rowing at $872,416.
What is surprising is that, even though the women's hockey team has done well from a winning standpoint, it doesn't draw crowds to its rink, Ridder Arena. The women's hockey team showed a loss of $765,112 after income of only $151,969 compared with men's hockey income of $5,982,249.
Gophers athletic director Joel Maturi said he is happy with the current financial state of the department, with no plans to drop any sports.
"We're in better shape than most schools in the country," he said.Jottings
The Gophers-Iowa State Insight Bowl on Dec. 31 in Tempe, Ariz., is scheduled to be televised only on the NFL Network. Last year's Insight Bowl between the Gophers and Kansas was made available by Comcast to some local subscribers at the last minute, and Maturi said the athletic department is working on doing that again. Maturi said about 1,000 tickets have been sold locally for the game. ... Cretin-Derham Hall lineman Seantrel Henderson got quite a compliment when he was named top offensive high school senior football player in the country by USA Today, the first time the award has not gone to a quarterback. Henderson is the second Cretin-Derham Hall player to get the award -- the first went to quarterback Joe Mauer in 2000. Mauer was also named the high school baseball player of the year by the newspaper. The Gophers are recruiting Henderson in both football and basketball. They are hoping that Totino-Grace quarterback J.D. Pride, one of Henderson's closest friends, will persuade Henderson to pick Minnesota. Pride has committed to the Gophers.
Timberwolves first-round draft choice Ricky Rubio isn't burning up either the Spanish League or the Euroleague in which his Regal FC Barcelona club competes. On that basis, one wonders what he would be doing in the NBA. In 13 games in the Spanish League, Rubio is averaging 5.5 points, 4.6 assists and 2.4 steals in 18 minutes a game. Through four games in the Euroleague, he is averaging 5.1 points, 4.9 assists and 1.1 steals. ... Talk about playing a tough schedule -- former Gophers basketball coach Dan Monson, now the Long Beach State coach, is 6-6. Five of the losses are to Notre Dame, West Virginia, Clemson, Texas and Kentucky, whom the 49ers lost to Wednesday 86-73.
Blaine's Brandon Bo- chenski is the seventh-leading scorer in the AHL with 15 goals and 16 assists in 32 games for Norfolk. ... Former Gophers Evan Kaufman and Chris Harrington are playing for DEG Metro Stars in Germany. Kaufman has three goals and 14 assists in 28 games while Harrington has two goals and three assists. ... Kellen Briggs and Mike Vannelli are playing for the Dresden Ice Lions in Germany. Briggs has a 13-12 record with a 2.66 goals-against average while Vannelli has two goals and nine assists in 27 games. ... Adam Hauser and Ryan Kraft are playing for the Kassel Huskies of the DEL German league, where he has a 10-15-0 record and 3.82 goals-against average and .901 save percentage. Kraft has four goals and six assists in 25 games. ... Erik Westrum has four goals and four assists in just 16 games for Ambri-Piotta in the Swiss-A league. ... Former Gopher Jim O'Brien has two goals and four assists in 28 games for Binghamton of the AHL
Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. • firstname.lastname@example.org