SBD/January 2, 2014/Franchises

Vikings' Wilfs Seen As Going All In On Team GM Spielman After Dismissing Frazier

Spielman said he has yet to get the job right during his tenure as Vikings GM
The Wilf family, which owns the Vikings, "by all accounts [has] full faith" in team GM Rick Spielman, but even if they "had doubts, firing him after two seasons -- without giving him his own coach to work with -- would have been an exceptionally quick trigger," according to Kevin Seifert of Seifert wrote "make no mistake," the Wilfs are "all in on Spielman" after firing coach Leslie Frazier on Monday. During the press conference announcing Frazier's dismissal, Owner & Chair Zygi Wilf "didn't take questions from reporters, and his brother and co-owner, Mark Wilf, declined to discuss Spielman's qualifications in detail." An "objective view of Spielman's tenure is difficult considering that he spent his first five years with the team as vice president of player personnel before gaining full authority as general manager for the next two." Spielman on Monday said of his tenure, "I haven't got it right yet" (, 12/30).

VEXING VIKINGS: In Minneapolis, Patrick Reusse wrote the Wilfs "aren’t a bargain, having fired their third coach in nine years, but I’d go to work for them over Jimmy Haslam, Cleveland’s new nutcase of an owner." The Wilfs' "track record for impatience isn’t even among the top few reasons for a coaching candidate with options to look beyond Minnesota." The Vikings are "headed off to play two seasons in TCF Bank Stadium," and the on-campus yard is "fine as a college stadium, but it was built on the cheap, is undersized and far short of NFL standards." Reusse: "You get the impression the Vikings are headed for two lost seasons in the return to the outdoors -- that their hope is simply to have everything back together by the time they move inside" their new stadium in '16 (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 12/31). In St. Paul, Tom Powers wrote there "isn't the slightest chance that the Vikings' ship gets righted any time soon." The Vikings' firing of Frazier was a "steady stream of finger-pointing, excuse-making and passing the buck." The "only possible happy ending here involves an awful lot of luck." Perhaps the Vikings "will stumble upon a coach who can 1) guide" Spielman through his job; 2) "find a way to work around the meddling Wilfs, and 3) actually be able to coach football." The Wilf family "never takes responsibility for anything." Zygi Wilf hired Frazier, but at the announcement of the firing, Wilf "quickly turned over the microphone to Spielman and stepped away from the podium." The Vikings "are beginning to resemble a large, dysfunctional family." The owners are "growing increasingly bold in their day-to-day dealings with the club -- even if they do conduct their business via long distance" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 12/31).
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