Peterson, Wilf Excite Brainerd Fans

Running back Adrian Peterson and owner Zygi Wilf spent much of Thursday morning in Brainerd talking physical fitness and the excitement surrounding Vikings football this year.

Vikings owner Zygi Wilf and running back Adrian Peterson, the Offensive Rookie of the Year, were busy in the Brainerd, Minn., area Thursday morning, encouraging thousands of school-age children to become or stay physically fit as part of the NFL's "What Moves U" campaign.

As part of their morning, Peterson and Wilf stopped by Buffalo Wild Wings in Baxter to talk with KFAN radio hosts Paul Allen and Jeff Dubay about the Vikings' goals and offseason acquisitions.

Wilf sounded loose and entertaining to start, responding to a vocal welcoming from fans with a good-humored shot at Viking Update's Bob Lurtsema, a long-time ambassador for the Vikings.

"Boy, are we happy we didn't bring Bob Lurtsema instead of Adrian here," Wilf said.

Allen also asked Wilf to return $20 he gave him at the team's draft party and Wilf quick-wittedly replied that free-agent signee Jared Allen had his money. Wilf signed off on a six-year deal that could be worth in excess of $74 million to acquire Allen in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs.

"When you get a guy like Jared Allen available to your team, you do everything you can to bring him here," Wilf said of the move. "… Guys like Adrian and Jared and everyone else on this team will bring our championship back to Minnesota."

"I want to start (the season) tomorrow, as we all do. … We start off the year, as everyone knows, on a Monday night game in Green Bay, and we want to be sure we get off to the right start."

Peterson was asked about starting off the season against the NFC North rival Packers and kept within his low-key off-the-field persona.

"I'm not going to predict anything," Peterson said. "That's not really my style, but we're going to be ready to go when we step on the field."

The Vikings potentially could be without left tackle Bryant McKinnie, who could be suspended for a number of games if NFL commissioner Roger Goodell deems that to be appropriate punishment for McKinnie's alleged role in an offseason fight outside of a Miami nightclub.

"We're not concerned about it because our team is deep," Wilf said of a possible suspension. "We're much deeper than before and I think whatever might come down, we're prepared to have players that can step in and fill any void that we might have. I think that's a sign of a team that's growing and becoming better is to have more depth."

Another big offseason story is the lack of progress the Vikings have made at the State Capitol in their pursuit of public funding for a new stadium. The Vikings backed away from an agreement to buy land surrounding the Metrodome earlier this year, but representatives from Avista Capital, owners of that land, were hoping take final bids on the land this week.

Wilf didn't get into specifics of that land or the current state of the franchise's hopes to secure public funding for a portion of the stadium costs.

"We're working very hard first and foremost to get a winning ballclub," he said. "As you see by the moves, we're doing the best we can and we look forward to a great season ahead of us. Certainly all of our fans would like to be able to watch our championship team in a great new venue, and we're working very hard with everyone throughout the state and the organization to get a plan that would work for everybody. I think we all agree that the Vikings are a very important part of everyone's life in Minnesota."

One fan on location for the radio show in Baxter offered Wilf 20 acres near Brainerd to build the stadium in exchange for season tickets.

But most of the frenzy surrounded running back Adrian Peterson, who said he is hoping to find himself with the football on the perimeter of the field more often this season.

"I'm already in my coach's ear right now, Eric Bieniemy, telling him, ‘Hey, you've got to find a way to get me the ball out on the perimeter and just outside of the backfield.' I'm pretty sure you'll see a little more of that," Peterson said.


  • Peterson said he will have a camp for kids in Oklahoma on May 24-25 as part of his Adrian Peterson Foundation.

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