EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. After announcing a major staff change on Tuesday, Minnesota Vikings' owners Mark and Zygi Wilf are hoping another important shift happens soon.
On the same day, the Wilfs promoted vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman to general manager, Mark and Zygi met with state senators Julie Rosen and Dave Senjem and are optimistic a breakthrough will occur during the congress' next session.
"The upcoming session that's going to start, our goal is making sure that we have a viable plan and we're working as we speak on a deal," Zygi Wilf said. "We're working with the governor; certainly he's been an advocate of getting this done. This morning we met with Senators Senjem, now the majority leader, and Senator Rosen, and they're very encouraged on the progress we're making. And we feel that a deal is going to be in the works shortly."Sunday's 17-13 loss against the Chicago Bears could have been the team's last game in the outdated Metrodome. The current lease at the Metrodome expires on Feb. 1, meaning the Vikings are essentially without a home.
The Wilf family again emphasized its desire to keep the Vikings in Minnesota long-term with the focus remaining on a proposed 1.1 billion stadium in Arden Hills. Meanwhile, some state leaders have pushed for the team to consider sites in downtown Minneapolis.
"We want to make sure, as many as the people we've met on the legislature, the governor, the fans, to establish a home that will ensure this franchise for generations to come," Zygi Wilf said. "A home that we can be proud of, a home we can enjoy with our families and also to keep on the traditions of Minnesota Vikings football. They go hand in hand.
"So I think the pride that we bring to the team will carry over towards our commitment to making sure that we ensure a new home for the Minnesota Vikings in Minnesota."
While working on a new home, the Wilfs have also taken a look at their organization after a 3-13 season in which Zygi Wilf described as "gut-wrenching."
"A year like this year makes you really sit back and reevaluate what has to be done, because we as owners and the players and certainly our fans want to make sure we get back on track to where we were just a couple years ago," Zygi Wilf said. "We're not far from it, and I think the structure goes a long way to establishing our goals and where the decisions have to be made."
Spielman becomes the main decision-maker for football operations as his promotion eliminates the previous structure of shared power between Spielman, head coach Leslie Frazier and vice president of football operations Rob Brzezinski.
Brzezinski's role won't change as he specializes in contract and salary-cap concerns. Frazier will remain the head coach after his first full season.
Mark Wilf said the organizational changes aren't an attempt to appease fans who are discouraged after Minnesota equaled the worst record in franchise history in 2011.
"Obviously we're trying to work towards a solution, a stadium solution in Minnesota," Mark Wilf said. "But when it comes to the football, that's why the general manager and the coach are fully focused and our whole organization is focused on a championship. That's the number one goal of our ownership."