Nine years after buying team Wilf still promising stability - KMSP-TV

Nine years after buying team Wilf still promising stability

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When Vikings owner Zygi Wilf bought the franchise from Red McCombs in 2005, he promised the fanbase that stability would follow. Wilf, a New York Giants fan at heart wanted to give the Vikings fans a consistent winner. Four head coaches, two general managers and 12 quarterbacks later Wilf is still looking for stability.

The Vikings first became an NFL franchise in 1961 and over the course of the next 22 years employed two head coaches. Norm Van Brocklin led the team from 1961 through the 1966 season. Bud Grant took the reins in early in 1967 and proved to be the rock of stability until he retired following the 1983 season.

Then came Les Steckel, who would ultimately become the worst head football coach in the history of the franchise. Steckel, led the team to a three win season and was fired the following season and Bud Grant un-retired for one more season.

If you don't count the Steckel administration, Jerry Burns represented the third Vikings head coach in team history. Burns led the Vikings from 1986-1991 but was with the franchise as offensive coordinator from 1968-1985.

Three coaches during the teams first 30 years is the definition of stability.

Fast forward to 2005 and the Wilf's taking over the organization from a slick talking used car salesman. Less than 30 minutes following the end of the 2005 season, the Wilfs exiled then head coach Mike Tice following a 9-7 season and equally as fast, they brought in Philadelphia offensive coordinator Brad Childress and wouldn't let him leave on a supposed plane to Green Bay. (The Packers hired Mike McCarthy who is enjoying another playoff appearance while the Vikings search for the right answer again).

While Childress was given full control of the roster, the Wilfs brought in Fran Foley to serve as personnel director. Foley lasted a whopping five months and was let go after inconsistencies in his resume and a propensity for not being a good guy in the office. Rick Spielman was brought to replace him in 2006.

Childress had success for two seasons as he won the Division in 2008 and 2009 and led the team to the NFC Championship game befort losing to the Saints. In what was the worst kept non-secret in the history of such things, Childress lacked the support of the locker room and was dismissed in the 2010 season and was replaced by defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier. Frazier finished 3-3 over the final six games and that earned him the full time job.

Three years later, one hot December is all that Frazier had to hang his hat on, and his teams finished 21-32-1 during his tenure with one playoff loss to the rival to the east. Two of the three worst finishes in franchise history were enough to seal the pink slip and send the Vikings further into the depths of the unstable.

No Franchise Quarterback:

As an organization, the Vikings have been in retread mode for the majority of the past 30 years. They drafted Daunte Culpepper, who was about as close to a long term franchise quarterback as they have come. However after suffering a serious knee injury, the Vikings quarterback list could find itself on the island of misfit toys.

Spielman swung and missed with Christian Ponder as the 12th overall pick in 2011 and with the current 8th overall selection in the upcoming draft, the team still needs a franchise quarterback but has a guy evaluating the current draft class who has never been able to draft one.

During the Wilfs stay in Minnesota, the Vikings have trotted out 12 different starting quarterbacks none other than Brett Favre gave the team anything resembling competent play at the most important position on the team. Not exactly a ringing endorsement for stability.

The Vikings quarterback situation this season, was to put it kindly a mess. With no apparent rationale or reasoning, the team rotated Ponder and Matt Cassel and picked up Josh Freeman after he was jettisoned from Tampa. Freeman started one game but was wildly ineffective (emphasis on wild) against the Giants on Monday Night football.

Spielman admitted that during his tenure as the decision maker here as well as in Miami that he has failed to land either franchise the quarterback they need to lead them moving forward.

"I haven't got it right yet," Spielman said. "We've worked as hard as we could to try to get that right."

So we are supposed to believe that in addition to finding the franchise quarterback, he is going to find the right head coach that will lead the team moving forward? Whether you believe it or not, the pressure to pull the purple out of the mess they are in falls squarely on his shoulders.

Good luck Mr. Spielman…actually, good luck to us all.

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