Wilf Preaches Patience

Vikings owner Zygi Wilf followed in the philosophy of VP of player personnel Rick Spielman in saying that fans should be patient while the team builds through the draft.

So much for the quick-fix route the Vikings seemed to be taking a year ago when they aggressively pursued free agents and coach Brad Childress talked about the team's potential after a 9-7 season.

Owner Zygi Wilf told the Minneapolis Star Tribune at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix that fans are going to need to be patient as the team tries to recover from a disappointing 6-10 finish in Childress' inaugural campaign.

"This is a process that will take a building-up from year to year," Wilf said. "It will require patience ... and it will take a couple years until we can get into a position for championship-caliber competitiveness. Hopefully we can get there sooner. We can't expect that, but we'll certainly hope for it.

"Either way, our goal is to get to a competitive, championship level and, once we get there, to stay there."

While the Vikings' defense surprised last season with its performance, the offense was a major disappointment. Veteran quarterback Brad Johnson struggled and was eventually benched, the offensive line didn't perform up to expectations and the receiving corps never panned out.

With vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman now having a major say in the team's direction — Spielman was hired last off-season following Fran Foley's brief and turbulent stint with the team — the Vikings seem intent on building through the draft.

Receiver Bobby Wade, tight end Visanthe Shiancoe and linebacker/special teams ace Vinny Ciurciu have been the only free-agent additions. Right now, 2006 second-round pick Tarvaris Jackson appears poised to open the season as the starting quarterback.

"The draft is where you build the strength of your team," Wilf said. "You have to realize that this is a long-term building process. The way that things have been done in the past had to change. We will continue building this way to improve ourselves."

NOTES

  • Restricted free-agent defensive end Darrion Scott said he doesn't plan to sign his tender until the April 20 deadline and admitted he was disappointed the Vikings elected to place the lowest of the NFL's four tenders ($850,000) on him. If another team signed Scott, it would need to give up a third-round pick to the Vikings. Scott led the Vikings in sacks last season.

  • With veteran Pat Williams entering the final season of a three-year, $13 million contract, coach Brad Childress said he recently talked to the nose tackle about doing an extension. "We're going to see if we can work with his number and see if it's favorable to him and favorable to us," Childress said. "Quite possibly, it's not his last year with us."

  • Defensive end Erasmus James, whose 2006 season ended early because of an ACL injury, could start training camp on the physically unable to perform list. James had a second procedure performed this winter to remove scar tissue.

  • Childress remains the Vikings' chief play-caller but said offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will work on the mechanics of calling plays during minicamp practices. "We'll play with it a little bit," Childress said. "We may rock and roll some people through it as we go."

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "I welcome competition; that's part of why you play football. You don't want them to give it to you anyway. I've spent my whole life transferring (from Arkansas) and going to a smaller school (Alabama State). I feel like I've had to work harder to get to the NFL. I've earned everything I've got, and I want to keep earning it." — Vikings quarterback Tarvaris Jackson on potentially competing for the starting job with Brooks Bollinger.

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