Players Say Wilf's Speech Not Profanity-Laced

Players are still dealing with questions surrounding the Lake Minnetonka boat incident. Wednesday, two players gave some insight into owner Zygi Wilf's speech to the team last week, which was described in a story in Sports Illustrated as an "intense, profanity-laced address." Meanwhile, Wilf toured the state and addressed the issue with three communities. On the field, the news was a little more encouraging.

The he-said, she-said game continues at Winter Park. Although in this instance, the players who are willing to go on record insist there were nothing but positive messages sent by team owner Zygi Wilf to his players Friday in a team meeting.

A lengthy story in Sports Illustrated this week, that details a series of incidents on board two charter boats earlier this month that led to an alleged sex party on Lake Minnetonka that was attended by well more than a dozen Vikings, reports that Wilf went on a "profanity-laced" address to the team last week.

An SI story titled, "Adrift on Lake Woebegone," by Michael Silver and George Dohrmann, attributes one current Vikings player that detailed Wilf's message.

"According to one Minnesota player who was present last Friday for Wilf's ‘intense,' profanity-laced address to the team, the owner at one point vowed he would discover which players were responsible for planning the boat party and threatened to remove them from the roster," according to the story in Sports Illustrated.

Running back Michael Bennett disagrees with the report of a verbally abusive owner.

"You know what, the media is the media and it's rumored," Bennett said. "It hasn't been quoted what he said. But it was nothing like that. It was all positive. There was no profanity. It was all positive."

Receiver Koren Robinson said Wilf's message was clear and concise. In fact, Robinson said, it made sense.

"He talked about being a professional and handling ourselves as professionals," Robinson said. "He's the owner. You have to be receptive. But what he was saying all made sense. You have to take it in because it's the truth.

"He was upset as anybody would be when something like that comes up. We heard it. We took in what he said."

Wilf, who earlier this week visited three cities outside the Twin Cities metropolitan area — events that were scheduled well before the boat party incident — repeated to groups in Duluth, Rochester and St. Cloud that he will not tolerate the type of behavior from Vikings players that allegedly took place.

The message interpreted in Rochester, as well as St. Cloud and Duluth, too, was that fines and suspensions could be on the horizon.

"I've only been here four months and I inherited an organization that is in need of discipline," Wilf told the Rochester Chamber of Commerce. "I hope through this action and discipline we will become better on the field and get what we all want — a winning team that pulls together."

Wilf continues to insist the boat party incident, and possible legal trouble for some players, will be taken seriously by the Vikings organization.

"I look at myself as a guardian of a storied franchise and a state institution," Wilf told St. Cloud Rotary members. "It's a responsibility I don't take lightly."

On Wednesday, players said all the stories surfacing on the local and national scenes regarding the boat party won't distract them from preparing for Green Bay. Of course, they said the same thing a week ago, just days before they were routed 28-3 by Chicago.

When asked by ESPN's Andrea Kremer about the boat party, Culpepper issued the expected response with an unexpected caveat: "I have no comment about anything other than going up against Green Bay. Please believe me that when this stuff is resolved and the investigation is over, I will have something to say."

NOTES

  • The Vikings received good news on a handful of injury fronts Wednesday. It appears receiver Nate Burleson, cornerback Brian Williams and defensive end Spencer Johnson all will play Sunday against Green Bay.

    All three players looked good in the walk-thru Wednesday morning, Tice said, and all three practiced later in the afternoon.

    Johnson's return will allow the Vikings flexibility to play either a 3-4 (like they did at Chicago), or a 4-3, or toggle between both. "If Spencer's handling it, it gives us an opportunity to play whichever front we'd like to play," head coach Mike Tice said.

  • Offensive lineman Toniu Fonoti, who the Vikings traded a conditional draft pick for Tuesday with the San Diego Chargers, is not expected to play for a couple of weeks at least, Tice said.

    Fonoti has to undergo a series of medical reviews to "consummate" the trade, Tice said. Fonoti has missed four games this season in San Diego with a broken hand.

    "We have to get him back in game shape," Tice said. "He's a big guy and from what I hear, he's even bigger."

    A healthy Tonoti should create competition at right guard, which could enable competition at right tackle between Marcus Johnson and Mike Rosenthal.



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