Tag:Zygi Wilf
Posted on: May 10, 2011 6:11 pm
 

Vikings announce new stadium in Ramsey County

Posted by Will Brinson

The Vikings are moving out of Minnesapolis ... and into Ramsey County, where they will attempt to build a new stadium. Of course, they still need to finalize the necessary Bills to get the stadium approved, but this is a major step in the team remaining the "Minnesota Vikings."

The location of the site is the old Twin Cities Army Ammunitions Plant property in Arden Hills, according to the team's announcement, and it calls for an $884 million stadium (see: right) with a retractable roof. Additionally, there's "an additional $173 million for on-site infrastructure, parking and environmental costs, bringing the total project costs to $1.057 billion."

The Vikings said they will committ to 39 percent of the overall cost, which equals out to $407 million.

Which is good news for all the Minny fans that didn't want the Vikings to actually move, because it means they will remain the "Minnesota Vikings."

It's also good news if you're a Vikings fan who's longed for a better experience at the game -- owner/chairman Zygi Wilf said at the press conference that the new proposed stadium (you can view the full plans here in .PDF form) would bring tailgating back to the fans and give them an "all-day experience" at Vikings games.

“Reaching an agreement with Ramsey County as our local partner is a major milestone in our efforts to finalize a long-term stadium solution, and we are pleased to have found such a strong and forthright partner,” Wilf said. “While we certainly appreciate the proposal by the City of Minneapolis, as well as the recent efforts by Hennepin County, we believe the Ramsey County site offers the most benefits to our fans, the team and the State and is the ideal site for a new stadium.”

Obviously it's good news for the fans ... if it happens. Now that the business end of things has been worked out, that's up to the government.

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Posted on: January 27, 2011 10:52 pm
 

L.A. is SERIOUS about wanting an NFL team

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) President Tim Leiweke really, really wants an NFL franchise in Los Angeles. And he’s putting up some serious money to do it.

He recently presented to a LA City Council panel the plans for a $1 billion, retractable-roof stadium that would require no public funding and could be built near the AEG-owned Staples Center and L.A. Live.

Minneapolis Star Tribune
columnist Sid Hartman writes today he thinks that kind of complex will attract an NFL team. Leiweke told Hartman, though, he hopes the Vikings aren’t that organization.

"Zygi (Wilf, the Vikings owner) came down and looked at LA Live," Leiweke said. "I think Zygi really wants to figure this out in Minnesota. I personally think he will. ... I think this is the year they're going to do it and I think he's pretty committed to keeping that team and that brand a part of the culture in Minnesota.

"Because we have roots there and we manage the Target Center, that's not one that we get all excited about. We would prefer and hope that he solves his problem there and that still leaves us with another half-dozen teams that, I think, [are not] going to solve their problem in their current local marketplace.

"We're confident enough there will be a team in trouble and a team that needs a new home after the collective bargaining agreement is resolved, that we are proceeding and spending money and going through an entitlement process as we speak.”

If I were a San Diego Chargers fan, I might feel a little nervous at this point.

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Posted on: January 1, 2011 1:40 pm
Edited on: January 1, 2011 9:05 pm
 

Frazier could become permanent Vikes coach Sunday

Posted by Andy Benoit

Sounds like Leslie Frazier finally got his meeting with Vikings owner Zygi Wilf. Minnesota’s interim head coach is hoping to become Minnesota’s 2011 head coach. According to Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune, that could happen as soon as Sunday.

Zulgad says Wilf and Frazier have held serious discussions, and “it is believed Frazier could receive a contract in the neighborhood of three years. Wilf has declined interview requests in recent weeks to discuss the coaching situation.”

The Vikings were 3-7 when Frazier took over. A win at Detroit would give them a 4-2 record under the former defensive coordinator.

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Posted on: December 3, 2010 1:55 pm
 

Childress speaks, defends himself

Brad Childress got the chance to defend himself this week. Posted by Josh Katzowitz

For the past few weeks, everybody in the Vikings organization – and everybody outside of it, for that matter – has weighed in on former coach Brad Childress, his coaching style, his relationship with the players on his team, and his general demeanor.

Until the St. Paul Pioneer Press tracked him down this week at his home in Bonita Springs, Fla., Childress has stayed silent. But in his first interview since owner Zygi Wilf hired him and replaced him with interim coach Leslie Frazier, Childress didn’t come out swinging.

Instead, he calmly defended his actions and got a chance to stick up for himself. In fact, he came off kind of classy.

A few choice quotes before you click on the link to get the full story, including which players called him to console him after Wilf fired him.

On whether he was surprised to get pink-slipped:

"I don't know if it's shocking. All you have to do is look around the league to know this happens. I didn't do everything perfectly, but I felt I coached my way. I left that job in a lot better shape than we were in (in 2006)."

On his relationship with the Vikings locker room:

"If you pull a couple of quotes from a locker room, it all gets exacerbated a bit. By and large, I know the support I had. It's a good group of guys in that locker room."

On whether Childress, who’s still owed about $5 million from the Vikings, will coach again:

"I didn't all of a sudden forget what I knew. I don't think you can slam the door on anything."

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Posted on: November 30, 2010 5:30 pm
 

I love L.A. (we love it!)

Minnesota's lease with the Metrodome ends after the 2011 season (Getty). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Vikings owner Zygi Wilf knows he has an uphill battle on his hands if he wants public funding to build a new stadium in Minneapolis.

The Brad Childress debacle didn’t help his cause, the Brett Favre sexting scandal was an embarrassment, and, oh yeah, the fact Minnesota is 4-7 and is out of the playoff race, for some reason, isn’t forcing people to open their wallets.

So, what do you do to get people to focus their attention? Only two words are needed.

Los Angeles.

That’s (sort of) what Lester Bagley, the Vikings vice president of stadium development and public affairs, mentioned today during an online chat on the Vikings official web site. He just happened to drop the news that multiple groups from L.A. have approached Vikings ownership and shown interest in perhaps bringing the organization to Southern California.

But, as the Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal (H/T to profootballtalk.com for the link) points out, the ownership wants to stay in the Twin Cities, and it’s been working hard to get a potential deal done. Hey, Bagley might have been just throwing the L.A. stuff out there. You know, like a lover in whom you’re becoming disinterested suddenly throws out the fact he/she has other options and that you’re somewhat expendable.

"No conclusions have been reached, and we're working to bring forward a package with a single site as soon as our work is completed and as soon as the new Legislature and the new governor are ready," Bagley said.

The reason this takes on a little bit of immediacy is because the team’s lease with the Metrodome ends after the 2011 season. For now, the Vikings are looking to fund a new stadium with lottery games and hospitality-related taxes, and according to the story, gaming revenue could help as well (though the NFL would have to approve that last one).

Also, Bagley points out, construction of a new stadium could add up to 7,500 new jobs and a new stadium overall could generate 13,000 jobs.

From the story:

But Bagley also noted that the Vikings have been approached by the two main groups behind the efforts to bring the NFL to Los Angeles: one led by billionaire Ed Roski and another led by AEG CEO Tim Leiweke.

"Clearly, the Vikings stadium issue is being followed nationally and it's no secret that we're down to the last year on our lease," Bagley said. "We've told those groups that we are focused on resolving the issue in Minnesota. We feel solid momentum and feel we're well-positioned with the new Legislature and governor.

"Instead of spending energy speculating on other markets, let's keep the focus on building a world-class facility for the community and the state of Minnesota."


But, ahem, Los Angeles is still there just in case. If you catch Bagley’s drift.

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Posted on: November 23, 2010 11:02 pm
 

Childress was 'confrontational' with Vikings

B. Berrian described former Minnesota coach Brad Childress as confrontational (US Presswire). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Vikings WR Bernard Berrian let us in on a little secret today. A secret we knew all too well. One secret that helped pave the way for Minnesota owner Zygi Wilf to fire Brad Childress as the team’s head coach.

In a radio interview, Berrian confirmed that Childress didn’t have the, uh, most-engaging people skills. Instead, he was a bit, well, confrontational.

“I think it was a working relationship, I think is the best way to describe it," Berrian told Sirius NFL Radio, via the Minneapolis Star Tribune . "It wasn’t too friendly all the time. You don’t really need to be friends, but a working relationship is all that’s needed. I think that the biggest thing with him was just he was too confrontational.”

So, did Childress, in effect, lose the locker room this season?

“Yeah, it did,” he said. “I think people got to a point where it was just, it was too overbearing.”

"He was just confrontational. I think that was the biggest thing. Instead of going to players like men and just talking and conversing about it, it was kind of brought to their attention in a confrontational way.”

None of this is a surprise, but now, we really get a sense of how dysfunctional that locker room was under the care of Childress. And if it's as bad as it seems, he probably didn't deserve to finish the season.

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Posted on: November 22, 2010 5:12 pm
 

Leslie Frazier looking to future

Leslie Frazier made his debut at the Minnesota news conference today (US Presswire). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

If there was a theme going into the Zygi Wilf/Leslie Frazier news conference this afternoon, it must have been, “Um, let’s not talk about the past. Let’s focus instead on the future and, specifically, the Washington Redskins.”

Perhaps that’s why Wilf – who Andy writes shares the blame in this mess – deflected every question about why he decided to fire Brad Childress today, what affect Randy Moss’ release had on his decision and whether Brett Favre would finish the season.

Perhaps that’s why Frazier, named the interim coach in place of Childress today, preferred to talk about how the Vikings need to be good teammates to each other and focus their energies on their next game.

And he’s going to do that by, um, starting Brett Favre.

“There’s no hesitation for me in that regard,” Frazier said.

When Frazier talked to his team – and now it is his team – he focused on the next week of preparation. Even though people are going to write about and discuss the past, look forward, he said. Not backward.

“We can only do what we can do going forward,” said Frazier, who also said he didn’t expect to get his first head coaching job in the NFL in quite this fashion. “Hopefully when we came back on Wednesday, all of our energy and focus will be on the Redskins.

“The one thing I tried to address with our guys is that you want to be a good teammate. That’s part of being successful in our league. We’re going to address a number of different things, but being a good teammate is paramount to having a successful team. In some ways, this is a day of celebration for our team, because we can embrace this moment as a group to focus our energy on the Washington Redskins and not get caught up in anything else.”

While everybody at Minnesota wants to think about the future, we need to talk about the past a little bit, don’t we?

So Zygi Wilf, why fire Childress now?

“There wasn’t one component that factored into this decision,” Wilf said. “We just felt we made the best decision for the organization moving forward. We have high expectations of this team.”

And how upset was Wilf about Childress releasing Moss without telling Wilf about it beforehand?

“That’s in the past. We want to make sure we focus on the future. We want to go forward and have our team forward.”

Did that have any effect on your decision to pink-slip Childress?

“Again, there was no one time when this decision was made,” he said. “We just felt moving forward, this is what was best for the organization.”

OK, since we’re not getting anywhere with this line of questioning, let’s talk about the future. What does Frazier have to accomplish in order for you to hire him for the full-time head coaching job?

“I know he is focused on making this team respond for the rest of the season,” Wilf said. “We will evaluate everything at the end of the season.”

One guy who seemed pretty excited with the change was DE Jared Allen.

"He helped turn this defense into a top ten unit year in and year out," Allen told the team's official website, via our Rapid Reporter Dana Wessel. "Leslie’s great at managing players and coaches, and I know the guys will play hard over the next six weeks."

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Posted on: November 22, 2010 9:54 am
 

The Childress watch is on

Posted by Andy Benoit

Much like we did with Wade Phillips a few weeks ago, the Brad Childress watch is in full effect this Monday (ironically, or maybe not ironically, he’s coming off a humiliating loss to the Packers just like Phillips was).
B. Childress (US Presswire)
The season in Minnesota has been so disastrous that the man who last year signed a contract extension and coached the Vikings to the NFC Championship game is presumably on the brink of getting canned. Until this season, Childress’ win total in Minnesota had improved by two games each season (6-10 in ’06, 8-8 in ’07, 10-6 in ’08 and 12-4 in ’09).

But for some reason, four years of solid work could get trumped by four months of chaos. Vikings owner Zygi Wilf has grown angrier with the whole situation ever since Randy Moss was waived.

Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune writes, “Wilf did not have any interest in talking a few hours later but this time his demeanor had changed dramatically as he departed the Vikings' locker room following a 31-3 loss to the Green Bay Packers. Wilf stormed out of the locker room, walked briskly past reporters and headed for a service elevator as he and his brother, team president Mark Wilf, likely left to contemplate what they could do about a season that has gone sour.”

Brad Childress was asked about his future after the game. "I can't really talk about that because that's not my decision going forward," he said. "I'll always do what's best for the Minnesota Vikings to get us ready for the Washington Redskins this week and cleaning up this game film with the guys tomorrow. That's really all I have to say of it."

Tick tock, tick tock…

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