Zygi Wilf said what you would expect just about any owner of a professional sports franchise to say.
But now you have to pause and wonder if the expectations of the Vikings owner will make life difficult on coach Leslie Frazier in the near future. Because it is one thing to strive for excellence and sometimes it’s another thing to approach a season with realistic goals in mind.
“I expect to be (NFC North) division champs,” Wilf said Tuesday during his annual visit to training camp in a transcript released by the team. “I want to be able to fight for the division, as we always did every year, and get better for years to come. That's always been our goal and it's been the goal since the first day I came here.”
But the Vikings are coming off a 3-13 season and are in arguably the most difficult division in football with the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions coming off playoff appearances and the Chicago Bears poised for a bounce-back season.
“Leslie's been working very hard, together with (GM) Rick (Spielman),” Wilf said. “The first time for a long time, I've seen a coordination between both personnel director, a general manager as we've named him, and Leslie. I think (with them) working together (it gives) us the best chance of putting the right guys on the field and being competitive. I have great high hopes for both of them.
“I think after the young guys learn from the veterans and learn from the coaches, I think we're going to get to where we want to go.”
At the same time, Wilf acknowledged the Vikings have a young team and that rebuilding requires some patience.
“Absolutely,” he said. “Things don't happen overnight. There's going to be ups-and-downs, as we certainly have had them in the first seven years of ownership, but you have to be patient. As we were patient with the stadium, we're going to be patient and we're going to work hard to getting a championship ballclub.”
We’ll see what kind of patience Wilf has if the Vikings are not in the mix for the division crown this season.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune