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Friday, September 19, 2008
Black and Blue all over: Wilf speaks

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

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: