Hartman: Wilf indicates he's confident in coach

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 10, 2012 - 7:57 AM

Vikings owner Zygi Wilf and his brother, team president Mark Wilf, both backed Leslie Frazier.

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Vikings owner Zygi Wilf

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At halftime of the Vikings' 21-14 victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday, Vikings owner and chairman Zygi Wilf expressed complete confidence in Leslie Frazier and said he would continue coaching the Vikings.

When asked when they plan to announce who will coach the Vikings next year, Wilf said, "He is our coach," referring to Frazier.

As Wilf spoke, he gave every indication that he had confidence in Frazier's coaching ability and that there wasn't any question that Frazier, who has one year left on his contract, will coach the Vikings next season. While Wilf didn't mention Frazier getting an extension, that often happens when a coach has only one year left on his contract.

When Mark Wilf, the team president, was asked whether he has been happy with the progress the team has made this year, he remarked that the coaching staff has done a good job with a young team and said he saw no reason why Frazier wouldn't return next season.

The Wilfs are very happy with the job General Manager Rick Spielman has done, and Spielman gets along great with Frazier, so why make a change? The team has already made a great improvement over last year's 3-13 record, going 7-6 with a chance to make the playoffs, so that is positive.

This is the ninth year the Wilfs have owned the team. They have replaced two coaches working for them in that time: Mike Tice, head coach from 2002 to 2005, and Brad Childress, head coach from 2005 to 2010. But they have a good relationship with Frazier and aren't going to make another coaching change.

Positive future

What has made the Wilfs happy about this Vikings team was exemplified Sunday when six of the team's draft choices from this year played a big part in the victory.

Harrison Smith, a first-round draft choice, intercepted a Jay Cutler pass in the third quarter, with the game very much in doubt at 14-7, and ran it back for a touchdown. Smith also had six combined tackles.

Josh Robinson, a third-round choice, intercepted a pass and ran 44 yards to the 5-yard line in the first quarter, setting up Adrian Peterson's second touchdown, and also had five tackles.

Wide receiver Jarius Wright, a fourth-round pick who is healthy and finally contributing, caught two passes for 29 yards, one for a critical first down.

Then there were tight end Rhett Ellison, who started and did his usual great job of blocking, and Matt Kalil, another first-round choice, who played a superb game at offensive tackle. Those two played a big role in Peterson's dynamic game.

And kicker Blair Walsh, who didn't kick any field goals Sunday, is 24-for-27 on field goals this season and on Sunday continued his good job of kicking off deep enough for touchbacks on a regular basis.

The Wilfs have been talking about how they wanted to build for the future, but naturally they want to win now.

On another subject, Mark Wilf was asked about the status of superstar Percy Harvin, who has been put on injured reserve for the rest of the season because of a bad ankle and has just one year left on his contract. He said that every effort will be made to keep Harvin with the Vikings because of his great contributions to the team when healthy.

Peterson thriving

After rushing for 154 yards, to bring his season total to 1,600, Peterson is getting closer and closer to becoming only the seventh running back in NFL history to eclipse 2,000 yards -- but his numbers this season are already mind-boggling considering he tore two knee ligaments in Week 15 against Washington last season. His 1,600 yards through 13 games are only 6 fewer yards than NFL leading rusher Maurice Jones-Drew had all of last season and only 16 fewer than Arian Foster accumulated in leading the league in 2010.

He also has the second-most rushing yards of any season in his career -- trailing his 1,760 yards in 2008, his second year in the league.

Great Vikings interest

The local television and radio stations were telling their listeners about Sunday's snowstorm being one of the biggest ever in December.

They were telling their listeners and viewers there were cars in ditches all over and not to travel unless necessary.

Well, apparently even a big storm can't keep people away from a Vikings-Bears game.

The largest announced regular-season Vikings crowd in history at the Metrodome was 64,482 against the Packers on Nov. 2, 2003.

The crowd Sunday, in the worst kind of driving conditions, was announced as 64,134, the Vikings' highest number of the season.

The game was sold out days before it was to be played. At one time the Vikings announced no-shows, people who buy tickets but don't attend the game, but they don't do that anymore. But it was interesting there were fewer empty seats on Sunday than during any good-weather games this season.

It holds true that this Vikings football team has the public's backing.

A penalty n question

Vikings linebacker Everson Griffin, who was fined $15,750 last week for making what the NFL thought was an illegal tackle, was penalized again for making a tackle that the officials thought was against the rules.

He is hoping he doesn't get fined again. He hit Bears quarterback Jay Cutler helmet-to-helmet in the fourth quarter Sunday.

"I'm just trying to go out there and make plays," said Griffen, who has come a long way as a defensive player this year. "You know, they called a penalty and I just don't know what you're supposed to do when the quarterback is going to the ground.

"How are you supposed to tackle him? But at the end of the day we have rules and you have to play by the rules and it is what it is. We got the 'W' and we won the game. That's all that matters in my book."

Better Bears stats

It's strange, but Cutler had better statistics Sunday than he did in the Bears' 28-10 victory in Chicago.

In the win, Cutler completed 23 of 31 passes for 188 yards and one touchdown while Sunday he went 22-for-44 for 260 yards and one touchdown.

Home field is a big advantage in the Vikings-Bears series, with the Vikings now winning eight of the past 11 games at the Metrodome. On the other hand, in the past 11 games in Chicago, the Vikings are just 1-10 overall.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on 830-AM at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. • shartman@startribune.com

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Philadelphia 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
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Carolina
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Cincinnati
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New York 90
Portland 6:00 PM
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Charlotte
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Houston
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Minnesota
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Vancouver
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Cincinnati 47
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Georgetown 81
SMU 62 FINAL
Michigan 51
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Western Ky 67
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American Univ 46
Abilene Christian 33 FINAL
Boise State 77
UMass Lowell 63 FINAL
Duquesne 79
South Alabama 65 FINAL
IUPUI 71
Ohio State 74 FINAL
North Carolina 82
Massachusetts 65 FINAL
Providence 85
Syracuse 77 FINAL
Villanova 82
Citadel 61 FINAL
Virginia Tech 64
Belmont 73 FINAL
Fairfield 61
St Bonaventure 69 FINAL
Binghamton 51
Montreat 54 2nd Half 1:56
Campbell 86
Delaware 72 2nd Half 3:04
Fair-Dickinson 66
South Florida 49 2nd Half 5:58
Florida State 58
Vanderbilt 56 2nd Half 1:41
Georgia Tech 59
SC State 59 2nd Half 3:38
Houston 52
Missouri 53 2nd Half 5:06
Illinois 55
Truett-McConnell 53 2nd Half 2:16
Jacksonville 84
Toledo 83 FINAL
McNeese State 69
Elon 60 2nd Half 5:43
UNC Greensboro 54
Drexel 53 2nd Half 3:38
Penn State 60
St Francis-PA 63 2nd Half 3:56
Rutgers 63
Albany 64 FINAL
Yale 60
PSU-Beaver 66 2nd Half 2:39
Longwood 97
Eastern Ill 54 2nd Half 3:33
Indiana State 48
Indiana 47 2nd Half 15:06
Butler 49
Marshall 30 1st Half 1:08
Arkansas State 25
Lafayette 28 2nd Half
Kansas 45
Oral Roberts 24 1st Half 3:06
Memphis 29
Western Mich 28 1st Half 1:48
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Delaware State 19 1st Half 3:32
Oregon 36
Fla Atlantic 28 2nd Half
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Arkansas Tech 28 2nd Half
Stephen F Austin 49
Howard Payne 25 2nd Half
Texas-Arlington 39
UMBC 37 2nd Half
Kennesaw St 38
St Josephs (IN) 14 1st Half 5:00
Chicago State 17
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Missouri State 19
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Idaho State
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Louisiana 16
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Texas-El Paso 3
(23) Utah 7 1st Qtr 12:37
Colorado State 0
Western Mich 4:45 PM
Air Force
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So Carolina
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St Johns 56
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Jacksonville St 57
Western Mich 71 FINAL
Detroit 57
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Wright State 80
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(11) Tennessee 59
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Western Carolina 83
Houston 65 FINAL
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Niagara 60
Texas State 57 FINAL
Stetson 75
George Mason 65 FINAL
ULM 53
Grambling 38 FINAL
Kansas State 61
Presbyterian 45 FINAL
NC Central 33
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Xavier 62
Ohio Christian 62 FINAL
Akron 97
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Cornell 59
Air Force 44 2nd Half 0:31
Abilene Christian 80
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James Madison 75
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Wisconsin
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Georgia State
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Villanova
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Cincinnati
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Tennessee St
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Utah Valley U
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UC-Riverside
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(21) Miss State 9:30 PM
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