Friday, September 19, 2008
Black and Blue all over: Wilf speaks
By Kevin Seifert
Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
This morning, Minnesota Vikings officials are poring over owner Zygi Wilf's first public comments since an 0-2 start led to the benching of quarterback Tarvaris Jackson.
I did the same, reviewing Sid Hartman's interview with Wilf in the Star Tribune for any sign that something newsworthy could be on the horizon. But other than admitting the Vikings "blew it" last Sunday against Indianapolis, Wilf kept his comments pretty positive.
The most interesting quote came near the end. (Call it the upright pyramid style of journalism.) Wilf said the Vikings still have a team that can win the NFC North and he placed huge significance on the outcome of Sunday's game against Carolina:
"[T]here is no question in my mind that this team has the capability, has the talent, has the character, has the team that can win the division. There [have been] two tough games [against] two tough teams. I think everyone knows what their responsibility is and how important it is that [Sunday] it's as important a game as we can ever have. I'm very confident they're going to step up and win it."
I don't think we're anywhere close to the "or else" stage. But it will be instructive to watch how the Vikings' ownership group reacts this season after making a considerable financial commitment during the offseason. In fact, Wilf and his investor partners pumped just under $20 million of their own money into the franchise this spring -- known as a "capital call" in business terms -- to provide the cash necessary to acquire defensive end Jared Allen.
Elsewhere in the NFC North this morning:
- Vikings running back Adrian Peterson on his chances of playing against the Panthers with a tight hamstring: "I feel like when Sunday rolls around, I'll be ready to go." We should have more information on Peterson's status later today.
- After initially saying he had torn cartilage in his rib cage, Chicago Bears receiver/kick returner Devin Hester backtracked on the specifics later Thursday. According to the Chicago Tribune, Hester now claims he has only a bruise. We're guessing someone got to him between media sessions. We'll stick with the initial diagnosis.
- Bears receiver Rashied Davis joined the group under consideration to replace Hester as a punt returner Sunday against Tampa Bay. Nathan Vasher and Earl Bennett are also getting long looks, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
- Safety Daniel Bullocks has been one of the few bright spots on the Detroit Lions' defense. He has returned from a serious knee injury, writes Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com, and doesn't seem to have lost any of his speed. Witness his rundown of Green Bay receiver Greg Jennings after a 60-yard reception last Sunday.
- Lions linebacker Jordon Dizon was sentenced to 24 hours of community service for driving while impaired April 20 in Boulder, Colo. He also must pay $895 in court costs to settle a case the Lions weren't aware of until after making him their second-round draft choice.
- Green Bay cornerback Al Harris has been awfully quiet this week, according to Jason Wilde of the Wisconsin State Journal. Harris on his matchup Sunday with the Dallas receiving corps: "This is the best game plan that we've had since I've been here, in this scheme. I honestly think that. And you can quote me on that. After the game, you won't even say anything. You'll just smile and know what I'm talking about."
- Green Bay cornerback Charles Woodson is again sitting out the entire week of practice to rest a fractured toe but is expected to play Sunday night against Dallas.