As he spoke to Minnesota media halfway through his first week as one of the owners of a Super Bowl host team, Vikings president Mark Wilf was already casting an eye toward the Twin Cities’ next chance to stage the Super Bowl.
Wilf praised the job 10,000 volunteers have done this week welcoming visitors to the Twin Cities, while saying the game belongs in northern cities, not just those with the warmest winter weather.
“I’m hopeful that the world and the country and the NFL and fellow owners will see that this a great community and maybe we’ll have this come here again. I think that’s something that’s certainly going to be on the radar,” Wilf said Wednesday. “There’s certainly challenges with the weather; that’s a given in these northern cities. The flip side of it is, I think, the fan base, the community, the corporate support here and the appreciation of getting an event like this takes it to another level. You see that, [when you’re] looking for 10,000 volunteers and 30-plus-thousand sign up and you see everyone with a nice, bright smile on their face with the neon blue parkas all around town. Indianapolis did a great job [with Super Bowl XLVI]. Detroit did a great job [with Super Bowl XL]. Why not have more northern Super Bowls? They’ve proven every time that it’s been here in the north that it’s been successful.”
Wilf also said the Vikings are interested in hosting the NFL draft, saying the team could stage it at both U.S. Bank Stadium and its new practice facility in Eagan. The Vikings will begin moving to the Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center as soon as next week, with a plan to have all their employees working out of their new headquarters by the first week of March.
Other highlights from Wilf’s session with reporters:
–He said the Vikings want to take their time in their search for a new offensive coordinator, indicating there may be more interviews beyond the ones coach Mike Zimmer has already conducted. “Hopefully sooner than later, but we need to be patient and trust the process,” he said. “They’ve been thorough about their interview process and making sure of leaving no stone unturned in terms of candidates. They’ve had some interviews and some potentially here down the road. It’s most important not to rush the process and make sure we get the right person.”
In addition to quarterbacks coach Kevin Stefanski, the Vikings have reportedly talked to former Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, Texans QB coach Sean Ryan and Saints tight ends coach Dan Campbell. Sources said Tuesday night that Stefanski is in strong position for the job, adding the Giants’ potential interest in him as a coordinator under Pat Shurmur could factor into the situation. If the Vikings want to talk to other candidates, Eagles QB coach John DeFilippo could be a name to keep in mind.
–Wilf praised the partnership between general manager Rick Spielman and coach Mike Zimmer, but stressed how much ownership wants to win a Super Bowl and said he was disappointed by the Vikings’ 38-7 loss to the Eagles in the NFC title game. Asked if ownership has reviewed the game with Zimmer yet, Wilf said, “Well, yeah, a little bit. We’re still in the process of winding down from the season and moving on to the next. But what we’ll do is typically we’ll meet sometime in February for maybe a full day or so and really kind of comb through after Rick and Mike and the crew get together, they’ll present to us where they think the direction of the franchise is and the team and we’ll kind of review and have a dialogue. We’ve been doing that for several years and it’s productive for us and hopefully it’s something we come out of that with a direction of where we want to go in the coming offseason.”
–After attending commissioner Roger Goodell’s press conference on Wednesday, Wilf echoed what Goodell said about taking a fresh look at the catch rule, while backing the league’s commitment to Thursday night games. The NFL reportedly agreed to a new deal with Fox for Thursday night games, which are oft-loathed by players because of the quick turnaround they require from Sunday games. “I think it’s a something that’s a good product,” Wilf said. “It’s good for the league. I think it’s great for fans to have that opportunity to have a game on Thursday night to watch. For the players, even, you look at the short week. It’s also a half-bye week, too. So, on the flipside of that, you get 10 days to the next game. If it’s balanced with a bye during the week it’s also, I think a lot of players feel, it’s kind of a half bye.”