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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Wilf backs Childress, lobbies for stadium support

Owner Zygi Wilf reiterated the pressing need for the Vikings to address their stadium needs at a business luncheon at the University of Minnesota today. After a 25-minute speech on the business of football, Wilf answered questions for about 15 minutes from the hundreds of attendants.

"We're here for the long-term. We're not moving the team," Wilf said. "But we have to find a (stadium) solution."

He once again cited increasing costs, which could move the total cost north of the $950 million that was projected in the fall.

While he insisted that the Vikings are continuing to be patient, he also added that the team will be as "aggressive as we can," in moving forward in 2008.

"I just think it’s important for everyone to know that the cost of materials are consistently skyrocketing," he said. "The quicker we get it done, the easier it’ll be to get it done. That was my emphasis of what I meant by patience, but not too much patience."

Wilf also said that the Vikings ownership will provide "hundreds of millions of dollars," although he would not provide a specific amount.

As for the Vikings 1-3 start, Wilf supported Childress.

"We’re built to be as consistent for the long-term. We have a commitment to getting a team that is not built for a one-shot affair, so to say," Wilf said. "We want to build a team that is consistent for many, many years to come. For decades to come. And I think that -- I know -- that the people we have in place are the right people.

"I have a very good relationship with coach Childress, as I do with many of the coaches, and they have my full support," Wilf said. "I’m very confident that as time goes on, and everybody works together, we will get the teams that we all are working to get."

Asked what he's seen in the first four games to reach that conclusion, Wilf said, "We just feel very comfortable with coach Childress, and his philosophy, and we’re behind him 100 percent."

Wilf said he did not have any postseason expectation when he hired Childress in January 2006.

"This was an organization, when we took over, that needed a lot of personnel," Wilf said. "From a personnel director, to coach, to players. And we’re consistently getting better in all aspects. And I think the results will show sooner rather than later. But like I said, even when it comes to the business of football, if you want to get a world-class caliber team, and a championship team, you have to work hard at it, and everyone has to be commmunicating with each other, and we have to build it together.

"It’s going to be patience that is going to dictate our philosophy.We’re very, very much optimistic that the time will come that we will be a consistent winner here and bring a championship to Minnesota," Wilf said.

As for the Vikings issues at quarterback, Wilf expressed no disappointment that they did not do more to address the position in the offseason.

"Not at all. Not at all," Wilf said. "We have full confidence in our players. I think the most important part of building a world-class franchise is having players of character. And the players that are in that locker room are going to pull together, and we’re going to get better game-to-game, and it’s just a matter of time."

Finally, Wilf said he is not concerned about the sellout streak ending later this month, pointing out the patience of Viking fans.

"The fans are great here. I don’t think there is much frustration," he said. "I think there is a lot of patience here, and I just hope we can reward them with more and more victories, sooner rather than later."


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