Access Vikings Logo

Blog

Access Vikings

Breaking news and year-round coverage of the NFL's Minnesota Vikings. Access Vikings is the Star Tribune's blog covering team news, rumors, games and all things purple.

Mark Wilf: 'We want our face of the franchise to be a Lombardi Trophy'

Vikings owner Mark Wilf said ownership spoke to Adrian Peterson on the phone “a couple of times” following his release and in person after the 2016 season.

“It’s all good there with Adrian,” Wilf said today during a break in the annual league meetings at the Arizona Biltmore hotel in Phoenix. “A lot of good memories, and I know he’s got a lot of great football left in him. He’s brought us and our fans a lot of thrills over the years.”

Peterson became a free agent when the Vikings opted not to pick up the $6 million option on the final year of a contract that would have paid Peterson $18 million this season. Peterson remains a free agent.

“Adrian is one of the greatest Vikings of all-time,” Wilf said. “We have a lot of respect for him. The day we drafted him to today, he’s really one of the greatest Vikings of all-time. We have a lot of respect for him and we know he’ll always be a part of the Minnesota Vikings family. And he knows that. We’ve told him that personally.”

Wilf was asked who would replace Peterson as “the face of the franchise,” something the star running back has been since the day he was drafted in 2007.

“We want our face of the franchise to be a Lombardi Trophy,” Wilf said. “That’s what drives us. Obviously, we have a tremendous core of great young talent right down the line. We’re very pleased with our quarterback, Sam Bradford, and on the defensive side with so many great core players. We’re building a roster that has a lot of playmakers.”

Wilf also talked about the well-publicized tweet by Riki Ellison, the father of former Vikings tight end Rhett Ellison. After Rhett signed with the Giants, Riki tweeted that the Vikings had “toxic leadership.”

Asked how much that tweet concerned ownership, Wilf said, “None at all from ownership. Not really sure where that comes from. I know how close coach [Mike] Zimmer and our GM Rick Spielman are and how great the work together and they communicate from us. From our perspective, I’m not really sure what Mr. Ellison’s perspective is.”

And Wilf also talked about Monday’s vote that allowed the Raiders to move from Oakland to Las Vegas. The Raiders became the third team to relocate in the past year.

“[Relocation] is never good, I think,” he said. “We try to minimize the fact of moving around. We’re very pleased that we were able to get a solution done in Minnesota with a great public-private partnership [for U.S. Bank Stadium].

“The oakland situation was not really a viable path forward there. We are sympathetic to the fact that Oakland is losing a franchise, but on the other hand I think Las Vegas and that market is going to be a good market for the NFL.”

Vikings work overtime scouting young veteran free agents

Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman and his top assistant, George Paton, arrived in Phoenix a day early for this year’s annual league meetings.

No, not to golf. To kick the tires on some more prospects they think can add value to the bottom of the team’s roster.

Spielman and Paton attended the NFL combine for young veterans that was held Saturday and Sunday in Phoenix. The combine, which had 150 players, was for free agents who joined the NFL in 2014 or later or had their most recent contract released or expired.

“We were looking at some potential guys we want to bring in to the offseason program that stood out to us on Sunday,” Spielman said Monday during the owners meetings. “We’re also monitoring some guys in free agency, doing the pro days, getting ready for the draft. Doing our top 30 dinner plans.

“So there's about 18 diff things going on at the same time. But you're always working to see if you can get another player or two to help the roster.”

Some other notes from talking with Spielman …

—He feels the team can head into the draft knowing it has five guys who can start on the offensive line. “Those five can change, obviously because we don’t know what things are going to look like after the draft. But I think our job right now is to get as many qualified and create as much competition as we can up there.”

—He said he watched quarterback Teddy Bridgewater last week as he continued his rehab from that devastating knee injury last summer. “I know he's been working extremely hard. As far as a timeline, I know he was in last week and continuing to rehab with our medical staff and [head athletic trainer] Eric Sugarman. I can tell you there is no one I've seen other than Adrian [Peterson] when he came back from his ACL that has worked as hard as Teddy is working. And this is more significant than just an ACL. But teddy is incredible with the attitude and work ethic that he's put in to get back on the field as quickly as we can.”

—He wishes he had a first-round draft pick, but wouldn’t change a thing about the trade that brought Sam Bradford a week before the 2016 season. “As you reflect back, to get a quarterback like Sam Bradford with the circumstance we were dealt with, I would do that again in a heartbeat because for everything Sam had to come in and do and everything that he faced and how he adapted, it helped our team to adapt. For a guy to come in eight days before the regular season and evolve into one of the leaders on the team, our players followed him and gave us an opportunity to compete every week to win.”

NFL Scoreboard

  • Baltimore

    Atlanta

    12:05 PM

  • Houston

    Miami

    12:05 PM

  • Tampa Bay

    Minnesota

    12:05 PM

    FSN

  • St. Louis

    NY Mets

    12:10 PM

    ESPN

  • Texas

    Colorado

    2:10 PM

  • San Francisco

    Chicago Cubs

    3:05 PM

  • LA Dodgers

    Cincinnati

    3:05 PM

  • Chicago White Sox

    Kansas City

    3:05 PM

  • San Diego

    LA Dodgers

    3:05 PM

  • Cleveland

    Milwaukee

    3:05 PM

  • Oakland

    LA Angels

    3:10 PM

  • Arizona

    Seattle

    3:10 PM

  • Boston

    Pittsburgh

    5:05 PM

  • Detroit

    NY Yankees

    5:35 PM

  • Toronto

    Philadelphia

    5:35 PM

  • Miami

    Washington

    5:35 PM

No NFL games today

  • Milwaukee

    Charlotte

    6:00 PM

  • Minnesota

    Indiana

    6:00 PM

  • Phoenix

    Atlanta

    6:30 PM

  • Miami

    Detroit

    6:30 PM

  • Philadelphia

    Brooklyn

    6:30 PM

  • Golden State

    Houston

    7:00 PM

    NBA

  • Denver

    Portland

    9:00 PM

  • Washington

    LA Lakers

    9:30 PM

    NBA

  • Nashville

    Boston

    6:00 PM

  • Detroit

    Carolina

    6:00 PM

  • Buffalo

    Columbus

    6:00 PM

  • Winnipeg

    New Jersey

    6:00 PM

  • Ottawa

    Philadelphia

    6:00 PM

  • Dallas

    Montreal

    6:30 PM

  • Florida

    Toronto

    6:30 PM

  • Washington

    Minnesota

    7:00 PM

    FSN

  • Los Angeles

    Edmonton

    8:00 PM

  • Anaheim

    Vancouver

    9:00 PM

  • NY Rangers

    San Jose

    9:30 PM

No MLS games today

Poll: What would be best way to honor 1996-97 Gophers' Final Four team?

See more polls