Wilf Preaches Patience

Vikings owner Zygi Wilf continued to talk about building for the long term and believes in the structure he has set at the top.

The Vikings certainly have playoff hopes after winning five of their final seven games in Brad Childress' second season as coach, but owner Zygi Wilf made it clear Childress' future employment will not be tied to a postseason berth.

"I don't believe in those kinds of benchmarks," Wilf told the Minneapolis Star Tribune at the NFL Owners meetings in Palm Beach, Fla. "That's not how I operate.

"I talk about patience all the time. This is a step-by-step process. You can't make rash decisions when you're trying to build something from the ground up. That takes time. So, no, I can't say that (the playoffs) is something that is required of him. We are all accountable as a group and not as sole individuals for how the team performs."

Wilf, who took over as the Vikings owner in 2005 and fired coach Mike Tice following that season, appears to be very pleased with the front office and coaching structure he has built in Minnesota.

In fact, Wilf announced that he has given a contract extension to vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman. Spielman had one year left on the contract he signed after joining the organization in May 2006.

The Vikings, coming off an 8-8 season after going 6-10 in Childress' first year, have been aggressive in strengthening their roster this offseason, committing more than $33 million in guaranteed money to free agents such as receiver Bernard Berrian and safety Madieu Williams among others.

The Vikings own one of the NFL's top running games with Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor, but it remains to be seen how far quarterback Tarvaris Jackson can take the franchise.

"I think we're getting there," Wilf said. "We were one game away from the playoffs last year, and I think we're learning what it takes to be a playoff team. I would like to think, hopefully, that we will get (to the playoffs) this year but we know this is a long process and we will be patient."

  • Unable to pry Sage Rosenfels from the Texans, the Vikings instead will bring in veteran free agent Gus Frerotte as the backup quarterback to Tarvaris Jackson.

    Frerotte spent the 2003 and ‘04 seasons with the Vikings, playing behind Daunte Culpepper, before joining the Miami Dolphins. He spent the last two seasons with St. Louis but was released last month when the Rams decided not to pay him a $2.5 million roster bonus.

    The Rams' decision was made after Al Saunders was hired as offensive coordinator. Saunders wanted St. Louis to sign Trent Green as the backup, meaning there was no room for Frerotte.

    It isn't certain when the Vikings will officially announce the deal.

    Rosenfels was the Vikings' top offseason target and the team offered a third-round draft choice to Houston. The Texans, however, wanted a second-round pick and in reality had little interest in making a trade.

    "He's important to our football team," Houston coach Gary Kubiak said of Rosenfels. "Our starter right now (Matt Schaub) physically has a problem, coming off shoulder surgery, so Sage is very important for our team."

    Many believed Houston would trade Rosenfels after it recently signed Quinn Gray as a free agent. Houston, however, could keep three quarterbacks.

    Frerotte, 36, who has played 14 NFL seasons, will be counted on to help Jackson develop in his second full year as a starter. Brooks Bollinger still remains on the Vikings roster and likely will end up challenging for the No. 3 job. It's possible the Vikings could draft a quarterback in an attempt to make that battle more competitive.


  • The Vikings are last among NFL teams in total revenue and the league has asked each team to reduce its debt load by $30 million, but owner Zygi Wilf said he isn't about to stop spending, as it would impact his pledge to build a better team.

    "Always, our main objective is to put the best team on the field," he said. "It's been our primary goal and always will be our primary goal. Our goal is to win the championship for our fans and for the state."

  • Coach Brad Childress acknowledged the Vikings have no plans to extend the contract of Matt Birk in the near future. The veteran center previously had been told as much and has informed the team he will skip the voluntary portion of the Vikings' conditioning program. This includes the Organized Team Activities, which are voluntary in name only.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "He's been a loyal guy. He's been a good football player. He's been a Pro Bowler. You want to see him play. He may afford us the opportunity to re-sign him or he may stick his nose up in the air. I just want to see him play, that's all. I think people make a lot of it. He's got a contract. He's got a good contract. Everyone wants to get a year ahead of themselves. Let's take it one day at a time." — Coach Brad Childress on center Matt Birk's contract situation.

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