Wilf expresses optimism, with patience

  • Updated: August 1, 2012 - 6:51 AM

Staff writers Dan Wiederer and Mark Craig weigh in from Mankato:

Delivering his first public address at training camp this year, Vikings owner Zygi Wilf certainly set the bar high when he was asked by reporters to describe his expectations for 2012.

"I expect to be division champs," Wilf asserted. "I want to be able to fight for the division as we always do every year, and get better for years to come. That's always been our goal. That's been the goal since the first day I came here."

Still, drill a layer deeper on those expectations and Wilf conveyed clearly that he understands the need for patience this season as the Vikings undergo a youth movement that will give them one of the youngest rosters in the NFL.

"I don't know if you want to call it rebuilding or whatever," Wilf said. "But we are certainly going to be improving. ... Things don't happen overnight. There will be the ups and downs. And we certainly have had them in the last seven years of ownership.

''But you have to be patient. As we were patient with the stadium, we are going to be patient and we are going to work hard to gett a championship ball club."

Wilf was also asked if there was a victory total he was looking for this season to gauge the success of Leslie Frazier, who's entering his second full season as head coach.

"I'm not making any benchmarks," Wilf said. "I'm expecting a winning season."

Instead, Wilf said he will evaluate Frazier on the Vikings' ability to show continued determination, to stay competitive and to display signs that the young players are learning from both the veterans and the coaching staff.

Down goes Carlson

Tight end John Carlson, the Vikings' top offseason acquisition at $25 million over five years, went down in practice Tuesday with what Frazier said was initially diagnosed as a sprained medial collateral ligament (MCL). Carlson was scheduled to have a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test on his knee Tuesday night. But the Vikings weren't expecting that test to show a torn ligament, nor is surgery expected.

But even a sprain could sideline Carlson for a few weeks, if not longer. And that would be a setback for an offense relying on Carlson and Kyle Rudolph, two pass-catching mismatches for defenses. The other tight ends in camp right now are rookie Rhett Ellison plus Allen Reisner and Mickey Shuler.

Peterson hopes to play in preseason

When Adrian Peterson finished with his health update Tuesday, he stayed on message with his push to get back into action as soon as the coaches and medical staff will let him. The Vikings running back remains on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list but reiterated that he wants to return to practice soon with the hopes of playing in part of at least one preseason game.

The Vikings have four preseason contests: at San Francisco next week, home against Buffalo (Aug. 17) and San Diego (Aug. 24) and on the road at Houston (Aug. 30).

"I definitely want to play a preseason game," Peterson said. "That's the only way to really get out here and get back to normal. Going out there and participating and cutting and dodging guys and playing football. Getting that feel. Hopefully I'll get the opportunity to do that."

Staff writers Dan Wiederer and Mark Craig blog at Access Vikings on startribune.com. Here are the highlights of Saturday's reports from Mankato:

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Pittsburgh - WP: B. Morris 8 FINAL
Cincinnati - LP: S. LeCure 7
Atlanta 0 Postponed
Philadelphia 0
Chicago Cubs 0 Postponed
NY Yankees 0
Tampa Bay 0 Postponed
Baltimore 0
Cleveland 0 Postponed
Detroit 0
Washington - LP: S. Strasburg 2 FINAL
Miami - WP: T. Koehler 11
Pittsburgh - LP: G. Cole 5 FINAL
Cincinnati - WP: M. Leake 7
Seattle - LP: B. Beavan 0 FINAL
Texas - WP: R. Ross Jr. 5
St. Louis - WP: S. Miller 6 FINAL
Milwaukee - LP: M. Estrada 1
Boston - LP: B. Badenhop 1 FINAL
Chicago WSox - WP: D. Webb 2
Kansas City - WP: Y. Ventura 4 FINAL
Houston - LP: L. Harrell 2
Toronto - WP: A. Loup 9 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: P. Hughes 3
NY Mets 9 Top 9th Inning
Arizona 0
Oakland 5 Bottom 7th Inning
LA Angels 6
Colorado 3 Top 6th Inning
San Diego 2
Los Angeles 1 Top 6th Inning
San Francisco 0
New York 109 FINAL
Brooklyn 98
Denver 61 3rd Qtr 7:08
LA Clippers 78

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