After Rick Spielman was named Vikings general manager, team owners Zygi and Mark Wilf discussed the state of the team Tuesday. Some excerpts:
On why a change was needed in the power structure:
Mark Wilf: "On the previous structure, we had a fair amount of success with it. We won two divisions in the past. But given this past year and the shortfalls we had in terms of on the field, we just felt this consistency of purpose would give everyone clear lines in terms of how to proceed forward and gives us the best opportunity to win championships. That's the model that's worked in the league, and that's the model we feel can work here."
On how the decision to name a GM was ultimately made:
Mark Wilf: "It was a process over several months through the season. As we got toward the end of the year and looked at going forward to the future, looking at what's successful in the league and what we need to do to get better, there needs to be more of a consistency of purpose, an accountability that needs to be more clarified. So I do think we have the right people. We sat together as an ownership and felt this structure needed to be clarified."
Zygi Wilf: "During the years of success, you tend to look and see the success but not at what's needed. When you go through a season like this, those decisions [about what's needed] are very important for the long-term success of our ballclub."
On solidifying plans for a new stadium during the next session of the Legislature:
Zygi Wilf: "The upcoming session that's going to start, our goal is to making sure we have a viable plan and we're working as we speak on a deal. We're working with the governor. Certainly he's been an advocate of getting this done. This morning we met with Sen. [David] Senjem [R-Rochester], now the majority leader, and Sen. [Julie] Rosen [R-Fairmont, chief author of legislation to build a stadium]. And they're very encouraged on the progress we're making. And we feel that a deal is going to be in the works shortly."
On why ownership feels so strongly the team is not far away from being competitive:
Zygi Wilf: "We're not far from it because only a couple years ago we were very close to it. So you realize that in professional sports, especially professional football -- and especially the way the system is set up -- that the competitive balances are so close. As you can see from this year, that [11 of our] games were decided by seven points [or fewer]. Things can change and things can turn."
Mark Wilf: "What also gives us going forward a lot of reason to be optimistic is that we have 10 draft picks coming up potentially, with compensatory picks. In the draft, we're also high on the waiver list. So we're going to get a lot of good talent in here. And you can't rest on your laurels or what happened yesterday in this league. ... It can flip in this league. We're not saying it's going to be easier, but with this structure in place and having a surplus of picks rather than a deficit of picks, I think we can get better in a hurry."