Wilf Comments Under Fire?

Differing accounts of statements made by Zygi Wilf Friday have some people wondering if any discussion of a new stadium is out of line considering the closeness of the recent bridge disaster in Minneapolis. While the local papers didn't include stadium talk, an Associated Press story had a different angle to his comments.

Vikings owner Zygi Wilf is coming under some scrutiny for a story that ran on the Associated Press concerning the Vikings stadium plans and how they may be put on the back burner in light of the I-35W bridge collapse this week.

While local media reports centered on the Vikings donating proceeds from their scrimmage with the Chiefs to the victims of the tragedy and the recovery effort, the AP story took a different slant – painting Wilf as having more concern over a stadium than showing sensitivity to the bridge tragedy.

"We all understand that there has to be a focus on the infrastructure, that we have to dedicate ourselves to make transportation a priority for the sake of safety and for the sake of a growing community that needs transportation infrastructure that will move us into the 21st century," Wilf told AP. But it added the following quote: "That does not exclude the fact that we understand that the Metrodome is also one of the oldest facilities in the league and we want to make sure that we have a facility that meets the needs of the 21st century."

We can tell you that when Viking Update asked Mark Wilf about the impact on the stadium, he said the time wasn't right to talk about the impact of the bridge collapse on the stadium.

While some might find it out of line for Zygi Wilf to tie the need for a stadium into the need to improve the bridges in Minnesota, he is a businessman who needs a stadium deal done to make the NFL viable in the state. Without public support, that won't happen and there is some concern that the stadium issue will get buried on the Legislative agenda as a result of the recent tragedy.

Was Wilf out of line for tying the stadium into comments about the 35W tragedy? That may be up to individuals to decide – both fans and those who control the state's purse strings as well.

SATURDAY NOTES
* You can't say Vikings fans don't love their team. About 7,000 people paid to watch Friday night's scrimmage.
* Former Vikings punter/kickoff specialist Mitch Berger is getting a tryout with the Patriots in their training camp.
* Napoleon Harris was the defensive star of Friday's scrimmage, frustrating the Vikings offense and making plays all over the field.
* The Chiefs didn't get to see much of the Vikings offense, which included neither Adrian Peterson or Chester Taylor. Because the Vikings play the Chiefs in Week Three of the regular season, coach Brad Childress had hinted that the Vikings offense would be pretty vanilla in its presentation. However, Peterson is hoped to see some action tonight when the Vikings and Chiefs meet at their training camp site in River Falls, Wis.
* Defensively, the Vikings didn't put some of their top players at risk, either, giving very little playing time to Kevin Williams, Pat Williams or Antoine Winfield.
* Word coming out of Jaguars training persists in saying that if coach Jack Del Rio doesn't take the Jags to the playoffs this year, he will likely be out of work after the season – a lot of pressure for the former Vikings linebacker.

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