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Vikings new owner
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Old 28 May 2005, 11:40 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Vikings new owner

Owners approve Wilf as Vikes' new owner

By Vic Carucci
National Editor,

WASHINGTON (May 25, 2005) -- Shortly after being welcomed into the NFL as the new owner of the Minnesota Vikings, New Jersey real-estate developer Zygmunt Wilf pledged that the team would "be in the Minneapolis area forever."

"I'm not changing that at all," said Wilf, who leads a group that has agreed to purchase the team for $600 million from Red McCombs.

By a vote of 32-0, NFL owners approved the transfer of the franchise during their annual May meeting.

Wilf's next chore is to move forward the process of getting the Vikings a new, state-of-the-art venue in which to play. He has been checking out sites around Minnesota, and is emphatic in putting to rest any talk of the team moving elsewhere.

"We look forward to continue building a world-class franchise in Minnesota and working with the community there, with the fans there not only to bring the best team that we can put on the field but also help them create a world-class venue," Wilf said.

He had no specifics on the location of a new venue, other than to say he and the rest of his ownership group are "exploring different options in the Minneapolis area." There is a possibility that the Vikings, who play in the Metrodome, would move to an open-air venue.

"I'm a strong believer of an open venue," Wilf said. "From the standpoint of the franchise, I think that it is a good advantage to have some of the other teams come up to our nice, warm Minnesota winters so that they can enjoy playing football where it hurts."

Although Wilf and his family built their fortune in real estate, they have long had a passion for football.

"Mr. Wilf and his family have had, for many decades, a very strong interest as fans of the NFL," NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said. Wilf grew up a fan of the New York Giants. Since the 1960s, his family has had Giants season tickets and have had a luxury suite in Giants Stadium since 1982.

Wilf took over the lead role of the ownership group in place of Reggie Fowler, who remains a part of the group.

Wilf officially takes over the franchise from McComb in June. He said he would leave the current operation of the Vikings up to the present ownership.

"I look forward to working with the organization that we have in place there to put the most competitive team that we can on the field," Wilf said. "Of course, it's every dream to not only be competitive but to reach the Super Bowl and win the Super Bowl. I will do my best to try to reach those goals."
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If he keeps the Vikes in Minneapolis-St.Paul, I am all for him.
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