Wilf Still Has Downtown Interest

Despite rumors that the Vikings' interest in the Downtown East location has waned in recent months, team officials stated Thursday that the Vikings and the Wilf family remain strongly interested in the downtown location for a stadium.

There was some thinking that when the Vikings cancelled the $45 million purchase of a four-block area of downtown Minneapolis for use as a stadium site that the potential for a downtown stadium was dead. But the Vikings reaffirmed their plan to invest $300 million or more of their own money to build a proposed $954 million stadium in the Downtown East area, according to a story in the Star Tribune.

Zygi Wilf has purchased several tracts of land around the current Metrodome site and believes a stadium could be a revitalization of the downtown area, much in the same the X-cel Energy Center has brought business back to St. Paul. Earlier this year, Wilf said he and his business partners were willing to put almost $1 billion into a new stadium as well as other properties around the proposed stadium site and, while nothing is forthcoming at the moment, that remains their plan.

The August I-35W bridge tragedy may have pushed the stadium issue even farther to the back burner as far as the Legislature is concerned, but there is a growing sentiment that, despite the bleak outlook in the current state of affairs, that the closer the state gets to potentially losing the Vikings to an open market like Los Angeles, a deal can get done to assure the Vikings will stay put.

* Tarvaris Jackson didn't practice again Thursday. While Brad Childress said he is "still keeping it open" for Jackson to play if healthy, it's looking more and more like Kelly Holcomb will be the starter Sunday.
* Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said that a young quarterback like Jackson needs all the work he can possibly have during the week of preparation, saying "I'll be honest with you. Tarvaris needs every rep he can get. He needs to be in there running the offense." This would also point to Jackson sitting out this week.
* The injuries at safety continue to be a concern. Darren Sharper (hip) took part in limited portions of Thursday's practice, while Dwight Smith was sidelined with a hamstring injury. In the good news of safety play, Mike Doss, who has been inactive for the first two games with a calf injury, is running at full speed and is expected to be activated for Sunday's game.
* For the second straight day, Chester Taylor (hip/oblique), Tony Richardson (forearm) and Troy Williamson (hamstring) practiced on only a limited basis Thursday.
* Defensive tackle Pat Williams will make his 100th NFL start Sunday. He hasn't missed a game since the 2001 season.

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