The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Vikings News

January 3, 2013

Wilfs take low-profile route to leading Vikings

(Continued)

EDEN PRAIRIE —

"I got to know him a lot better this past offseason," Peterson said. "We built a bigger bond. We had a couple of really good conversations while I was going through it. I trust him."

On the football side, the Wilfs approved spending for a set of officials to be at every practice after the Vikings struggled the previous season with penalties.

They also heeded calls from veterans and Frazier to install new turf in the practice facility, a surprise that was waiting for the team when it returned from the bye week in November.

They also provided a bigger, more comfortable private plane for the team's longer road trips to Seattle and Houston this season in addition to sparing no expense when Spielman set his sights on an important free agent or re-signing a core player.

"It's just so unique to have ownership that are in the background but are a lot more heavily involved than it's known in the public," Spielman said. "They also let people do their jobs."

The season appeared to be taking an ominous turn with a demoralizing loss at Green Bay that dropped them to 6-6.

A promising start seemed to be slipping away, so Wilf addressed the team on the Friday before a home game against the Chicago Bears to try to relieve some of the tension.

"He's passionate and genuine," Peterson said. "It don't get no better than that. He said, 'I got your back.'"

The Vikings haven't lost since.

"They treat our players more than just players. They're people they care about," Frazier said. "Our players sense that. That's why when Zygi came in and talked about the passion he has for this team and this organization, that resonated with them. They've seen tangible evidence in the way he treats our players.

"When some owners talk about it being a family atmosphere, you take it with a grain of salt. Our players know it for a fact. When they deal with certain issues, Zygi, Mark and the Wilf family really care about what's going on in their lives."

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