Wilf Wants Better Communication

The fans have seen and heard Brad Childress in action, and so have the owners. As fans and owners, the Wilfs want to increase communication between the team and its fans and players.

Vikings coach Brad Childress made it clear at his season-ending news conference that he doesn't plan to give up play-calling duties despite the team's offensive struggles. However, that doesn't mean things won't change in Childress' second season at the helm.

Zygi Wilf is going to see to it that that happens.

The Vikings owner said he is planning to become much more involved in his team's football operations. That will include spending more time at the team's Winter Park complex.

Wilf did not criticize Childress' performance in his first season as Vikings coach, one in which the team underachieved and went 6-10, but there are some things the owner feels need to be fixed and issues that need to be addressed. One is a public perception of arrogance surrounding the organization.

That only grew when veteran receiver Marcus Robinson was informed he was being released on Christmas Eve.

"In the future I think that issues like this will be handled in a more consistent level, and hopefully we will not let certain passions overcome us," Wilf said.

It did not help matters that Childress and vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman made the move without consulting with ownership.

Wilf, to his credit, is not afraid to say that he continues to learn on the job and he feels he has more to give to the franchise.

"We're going to be much more involved because we want to be," Wilf said. "I don't want to underestimate a fan's knowledge, being a former fan myself, of what we know about football. Even now as an owner, I realize I can't underestimate the knowledge and the questions that come out of our mouths as owners. (They) really pose debate amongst a lot of people here.

"I think I can only help the communications and discussion as it deals with particular issues that might be of very much concern to us as owners."

Interestingly, Wilf seemed to support Childress' play-calling and blamed many of the offensive problems on a "lack of making plays." Asked to evaluate his performance and what he wished he had done better in 2006, Childress said, "Probably call better plays that work."

So who will be making the plays for the Vikings in 2007?

A big spender in free agency last offseason, the Vikings have more than $23 million in salary cap space. Wilf, though, said his top desire is to build through the draft and not rely on free agency. That statement could serve as a partial smokescreen and also could be a product of the fact that this year's free agent market isn't as deep as last year's.

One area where Childress said the Vikings won't be looking for much help is quarterback. Once again, this could be an attempt to not tip off opponents, but Childress' plan is to have Tarvaris Jackson and Brooks Bollinger compete for the starting job in training camp.

Veteran Brad Johnson, who started the first 14 games in 2006, is under contract through 2008 but likely will be released before the NFL's free agency period begins.


  • RB Chester Taylor finished ninth in the NFL and fifth in the NFC with 1,214 rushing yards on 304 carries (4.0 average). He also rushed for six touchdowns in his first season as a full-time starter.

  • RB Mewelde Moore led the Vikings in rushing in 2005 with 662 yards on 155 carries (4.3 average), including a 122-yard performance against Green Bay. In 2006, he rushed for a total of 131 yards on 24 carries (5.5 average) and was used primarily as a third-down back.

  • The Vikings defense finished eighth in the NFL under first-year coordinator Mike Tomlin. But it was a story of extremes for the unit. While the run defense was the best in the league, the pass defense tied with Cincinnati as the worst in the NFL.

  • Dr. David Fischer is leaving as the Vikings' medical director after 26 seasons. He was an honorary captain before the team's regular-season finale Sunday against St. Louis.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "I don't think in your wildest dreams from afar you think you would come in here and trade a franchise quarterback. I don't think that was even a consideration as I came in the door." - Coach Brad Childress, making it clear the remodeling of the Vikings roster this season was made far more complex when a falling out with Daunte Culpepper led to the quarterback's trade to Miami.

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