Commentary: What Wilfs Want, Wilfs Get

Zygi and Mark Wilf spent long hours with Brad Childress and knew he was their guy after interviewing all the candidates they wanted. So, what's the point in waiting?

Zygi and Mark Wilf don't own the Twin Cities newspaper, but give them time. They're buying up property on the outskirts of the Twin Cities and maybe they'll make their way downtown.

Actually, I'm not sure the Wilfs would want to waste their time with an industry that isn't flourishing like real estate is these days, but I'm quite sure they would appreciate being painted with a brighter colored ink. For days, the Wilfs have been getting hammered by the columnists on how quickly they fired Mike Tice, and now they are getting savaged for how quickly they made a decision on Brad Childress as the next head coach of the Vikings.

Frankly, it's easy to hammer them because nobody knows for sure how good – or, Thor forbid, how bad – of a head coach Brad Childress will be. But at least give the man time to prove himself before discounting his worth.

But time isn't something the Wilfs figured they had.

"We were happy to be able to pick from the best and not wait until we wound up having to pick from what was not the best group," Zygi Wilf said. "That's the reason why we acted swiftly. A lot of what I've seen written says we might have acted rashly, but just the opposite. I felt it was the most diligent fashion. My expertise as a businessperson told me when you want something you go out and get it. We went out and made sure we got Brad Childress.

"If you were there, you would realize that we did not go through the process rashly. We asked the questions that went down to the minutia of what we felt would relate to us in the type of person we were looking for."

Sure, the Vikings could have interviewed 20 candidates over the next three weeks, then waited until the Super Bowl was over to interview the coordinators of those two teams, then analyzed all that information. Then they could have crossed off seven candidates who would have already signed with other teams and probably 14 more coordinators who were hired by those candidates and their list of 20 would have had none remaining.

Seriously, what is the proper amount of time to wait? The Wilfs had about two weeks to prepare. They knew they wanted a new coach when the Vikings were eliminated from the playoffs, and even Mike Tice had a pretty good sense his tenure in Minnesota was over after he lost in Baltimore.

The Wilfs knew the candidates they wanted to speak with and they did. When they interviewed Childress, they had a good feeling.

"The guy's a winner. He's a man with great values, he's tough, he's won, he's energetic, hard-working, well-spoken," team president and owner Mark Wilf said. "He really had, in our eyes, the perfect fit for this organization.

"We didn't take this lightly. This was a very serious, important decision for the future of this franchise. We did the research that once we knew the best candidates to interview them as quickly as possible for a host of reasons – getting started in planning for 2006 as soon as possible. Getting the entire coaching staff, getting the assistants in place, whatever it takes – the sooner we could get that, the better. We knew this vacancy was the plum available coaching position. We knew that if we picked the best candidates, those candidate would come to us."

When pressed for a timeframe for hiring a coach on Monday, Zygi Wilf said he wanted to make a decision by the end of the month. If he had waited until the end of the month, as some interpreted that to mean, he would have been left with the regurgitated scraps from the coaching table that even the dogs (read: Matt Millen) didn't want.

Plus, waiting that long would have meant the Vikings would have sent the equivalent of Roger Headrick in shorts down to the Senior Bowl. Sure, the personnel men in the front office would be there, but it's important for the coaches to attend the Senior Bowl, too.

Childress is hoping to have his staff of assistants assembled before the Senior Bowl. In fact, he's hoping to get that process well underway next week. Guess what? He'll probably have some them signed before next week, and good for him. If he sees someone he wants, he should grab them quickly, too … you know, before Millen's next coach of the month is actually interested in a desirable assistant.

"(Childress) is one of the best guys out there, and it's like free agency – when you want the best guy, you've got to go after them," tight end Jermaine Wiggins said.

I'm sure the Wilfs will treat free agency exactly the same. Hopefully, they won't be asked to take their time with that, too. If that was the approach, Antoine Winfield wouldn't be in purple and neither would Pat Williams.

Want to see the Vikings defense perform without those two players? Me either. And I don't want to see the Vikings with a second-rate head coach because they waited until all the good candidates had already found their head-coaching heaven.

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