Vikings president and co-owner Mark Wilf stopped briefly to talk with reporters Monday afternoon following a Tony Dungy speaking engagement at the Westin in Edina. Wilf talked mostly about the team's ongoing bid for a new stadium. But three months after the Vikings promoted Rick Spielman to general manager, Wilf was also asked for his early impressions on how the new structure at Winter Park has been working through free agency and the pre-draft process.
"We're involved and very immersed in the fact that we want to get our team back to the top of the NFC North and be competing for championships," he said. "And to an extent, our new structure with our general manager Rick Spielman and our coach Leslie Frazier, we're encouraged that we're going to be making some very good steps ahead here, particularly in the draft. We have 10 picks and a positive position which we haven't been in for several years. So we're excited with a deep draft ahead of us."
Asked if he had been able to yet recognize the benefits of the new power arrangement, Wilf said : "The ultimate benefits are seen on the field in wins and losses. But I can tell you we're excited about the small steps we've been starting to make in free agency and as we continue to go into the draft and the offseason."
What is there to make of those comments? Not a ton. And we're only sharing them as the flames of one rumor -- the New York Post's report that the Vikings may be making a hard push at hiring Bill Parcells -- flicker.
But even if the Wilfs were serious about bringing Parcells to the Twin Cities, you'd certainly have to question the timing of such a move. First and foremost, we must acknowledge that for the past week or so Parcells has been idenitfied as the top candidate to replace Sean Payton for a year in New Orleans as Payton heads off to serve a one-season suspension for his involvement in the Saints' bounty scandal. So certainly Parcells might be looking for added leverage in his negotiations with New Orleans. And the reports of the potential Vikings' interest help that cause.
It's also worth wondering, if the Wilfs were truly serious about having Parcells "run the show," why wouldn't they have made their major push in January, shortly after the season ended? At this stage, Spielman has spent three months in the GM's role, overseeing the planning for free agency and the draft and crafting a pretty detailed blueprint for the team's long-term rebuilding project. The Vikings also promoted George Paton into the role of assistant GM. To alter that course now -- with the big stages of free agency over and the draft just three weeks away -- would seem reckless.
Not to mention that Parcells will turn 71 in August and hasn't spent more than four consecutive seasons with an NFL team in more than two decades, bouncing from New England to New York to Dallas to Miami. As successful as Parcells has been during his career as a coach and executive, his chances of providing the Vikings with long-term stability seem slim.
So don't put much stock in this latest rumor. More likely, the flame of this story will be extinguished when New Orleans agrees to a deal with Parcells to take over for Payton.
UPDATE: Bob Hagan, the Vikings' director of media relations, has put an end to the Parcells-Vikings rumors. "There is no truth to the media reports," Hagan said this morning. Well, that ends that chaos just as the circus organ was starting to pick up steam.