Twenty-six days after the sucker-punch finish to his team’s season, Vikings owner and President Mark Wilf was channeling his inner Bill Belichick when he declared “we’re on to next season” during a press conference inside the Super Bowl 50 media center in San Francisco.
“You never forget the tough losses,” Wilf said when asked how long it took ownership to get over Blair Walsh missing the 27-yard field goal with 22 seconds left in the 10-9 wild-card playoff loss to Seattle at TCF Bank Stadium.
“They’re very hard to take, but I think time heals things and the NFL is a 365 treadmill. We already went to the Senior Bowl. We’re right back working. We met with coach [Mike] Zimmer and [General Manager] Rick [Spielman]. We had some conversations this week and are already starting to plan for this coming year. So we’re on to the next year.”
Asked about Walsh’s kick, Wilf said, “Obviously a tremendous disappointment.
“But this was not one person’s loss. It’s a team loss and as well as we played, he won us some game earlier in the year. We win as a team and we lose as a team, as I’m going to quote coach Zimmer. The fact of the matter is, sure, we would have liked to have kept going. We feel we have a strong team here. But we had a lot of great steps this year. We won the division. It’s a tough division, a lot of tough teams. Beating the Packers in that last game and winning the division and having the confidence of how we played in that playoff game, I think that’s going to bode well for the future for all young players to have that kind of experience.”
Wilf is in San Francisco as part of the Minneapolis contingent that’s organizing Minnesota’s Super Bowl in two years.
Some other highlights about the team:
—On the one thing the team needs to take the next step in 2016: “I don’t think it’s any one thing. I just think we have to get better at every position. We have to get better in every area. I’m not going to tell you any specifics because we’re still working through evaluating all the talent out there. But I know we’re going to be a better football team because a lot of young guys who made a lot of good steps this year. We’ll have a good, young core of players moving to next year.”
—On how Zimmer has bounced back from the playoff loss and moved on to preparing for 2016: “He’s been around the league a long time. He’s had tough losses and he’s as tough a competitor as I’ve ever seen. He knows what it takes. He’s had the experience of having been in a Super Bowl and won them back in Dallas. He knows that we’re close, but there are no guarantees in the NFL. We got to get back to work April 18 or whenever it is when the players come back and go right back at it again.”