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  1. #1
    Prophet Guest

    What's ahead for Wilf

    Posted on Thu, Jan. 05, 2006
    What's ahead for Wilf
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    After enduring a tumultuous first season, Vikings owner Zygi Wilf quickly initiated his offseason plans toward building a championship franchise. Although the season ended Sunday, Wilf has started to address key positions — a head coach and personnel director.

    Sean Jensen, one of the Vikings beat writers at the Pioneer Press, breaks down a few key questions about the front office and this offseason:

    Q: Didn't Wilf say there wouldn't be a "major overhaul" of the front office at Winter Park?

    A: In his mind, that's still the case, even with the dismissal of coach Mike Tice and the potential addition of a personnel director from another club.

    Wilf would rationalize that his other five top executives — Lester Bagley, Rob Brzezinski, Steve LaCroix, Steve Poppen and Kevin Warren — remain on staff.

    So subtracting Tice doesn't constitute a major overhaul, even if the head coach is the club's most visible face. Wilf, though, realized the best way to put his stamp on the team he purchased from Red McCombs was to change head coaches, which meant Tice was fighting an uphill battle all season.

    Wilf is unassuming and fiercely private, and he apparently is seeking a like-minded head coach. While he was dazzled by Tice's charm, Wilf might have been frustrated at times by Tice's candor. Interestingly, all of the candidates the Vikings are believed to be considering are a stark personality contrast to Tice, which Wilf apparently welcomes.

    Q: Why won't Wilf just call the football executive vacancy what it is, a general manager position?

    A: Because Wilf doesn't want a guru.

    General manager, more than any other title in the NFL, carries the power that matters most, making football decisions. They hire and fire coaches, and they make decisions on who to draft and who to sign in free agency.

    In the midst of his close evaluation of the Vikings' setup, Wilf appreciated the front-office-by-committee approach — in theory. Having arrived after the NFL draft, Wilf has been able only to watch the Vikings brain trust's handling of veteran free agents. He might not have liked the power Tice wielded, but he couldn't lament Brzezinski's clout because of his limited scouting experience.

    McCombs never wanted to pay anyone to be the team's player personnel director, so he essentially empowered Brzezinski, the vice president of football operations, to handle that role, even though he wasn't qualified. Given his preparedness and lack of ego, Brzezinski capably led the scouting department, leaning heavily on Scott Studwell, the college scouting director, and Paul Wiggin, the senior pro personnel consultant.

    The Vikings clearly need a top football executive who will oversee the draft and free agency. But Wilf doesn't want that person to undermine Brzezinski or the coach.

    The coach, Brzezinski and the personnel director all will report to Wilf directly, and they will be expected to work closely with another, in a democratic way. That Philadelphia's Tom Heckert, who worked with Brzezinski for several years in Miami, was the top candidate speaks to the importance of finding a qualified person who doesn't crave complete power.

    Under this setup, the personnel director would identify a pool of players — both in college and already in the NFL — that fit the coach's philosophy.

    Brzezinski is responsible for rookie contracts and negotiations with veteran free agents. And the coach's staff teaches those players the system.

    Q: Who is advising Wilf right now?

    A: Wilf is diplomatic when he mentions his ownership partners. While he apparently keeps them abreast of the team's intentions and actions, Wilf and his brother, team President Mark Wilf, make most of the decisions, along with two vice presidents with NFL experience.

    It is unclear what kind of input limited partner Reggie Fowler, who has the most football knowledge of the owners, provides. But Brzezinski clearly has been integral in leading the search for a head coach and personnel director, along with Kevin Warren, the vice president of operations and legal counsel, who has operated under the radar. Neither Brzezinski nor Warren has led a coaching search before. But they have NFL experience and connections the Wilfs don't have.

    Warren is the only executive with a Super Bowl championship ring, and he has wide-ranging experience in past jobs with the Detroit Lions and St. Louis Rams. Though he is a new executive to the team, Warren, the lead attorney in putting together the purchase of the Vikings, has intimate knowledge of the organization.

    Q: How much money is this upgraded scouting and coaching staff going to cost?

    A: Wilf likely will increase not only the payroll but also the size of the scouting and coaching staffs, both among the NFL's smallest. In 2005, the Vikings' coaching budget was believed to be about the same as in 2004, Larry Kennan, the executive director of the NFL Coaches' Association, said in September.

    The Vikings' coaching budget was $2,852,800, the lowest in the NFL. Even with Tice's $1 million salary factored in, the entire Vikings coaching staff made less than at least eight NFL head coaches.

    Unlike player contracts, there's no salary cap on how much a team spends on its coaching and scouting staffs, and Wilf is expected to invest heavily in both areas.

    With Gregg Williams of the Washington Redskins out of the running, the only other candidate with NFL head coaching experience is Al Saunders. But his stint in San Diego (17-22 record) was hardly a success. In fact, the most expensive option would likely be Iowa's Kirk Ferentz, who earns about $2 million annually with the Hawkeyes.

    In all, the Vikings likely will more than double their current coaching budget, perhaps going beyond $8 million. In addition, Wilf will realize that his scouting department is undermanned, and he likely will bolster that unit as well.

    Sean Jensen can be reached at [email protected]

  2. #2
    Prophet Guest

    Re: What's ahead for Wilf

    I found this part of the article to be interesting and encouraging.

    ============================================

    Wilf likely will increase not only the payroll but also the size of the scouting and coaching staffs, both among the NFL's smallest. In 2005, the Vikings' coaching budget was believed to be about the same as in 2004, Larry Kennan, the executive director of the NFL Coaches' Association, said in September.

    The Vikings' coaching budget was $2,852,800, the lowest in the NFL. Even with Tice's $1 million salary factored in, the entire Vikings coaching staff made less than at least eight NFL head coaches.

    Unlike player contracts, there's no salary cap on how much a team spends on its coaching and scouting staffs, and Wilf is expected to invest heavily in both areas.

    ...

    In all, the Vikings likely will more than double their current coaching budget, perhaps going beyond $8 million. In addition, Wilf will realize that his scouting department is undermanned, and he likely will bolster that unit as well.
    Sean Jensen can be reached at [email protected]

  3. #3
    cajunvike's Avatar
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    Re: What's ahead for Wilf

    Prophet...that is why Tice never had a chance...even this year...low paid staff...Wilf got what he paid for!
    BANNED OR DEAD...I'LL TAKE EITHER ONE

  4. #4
    Prophet Guest

    Re: What's ahead for Wilf

    Cajun, I agree to that in part.

    I have two levels of gripe with Tice.

    1. Nothing to do with Tice.

    This aspect has to do with him coming on as an interim HC when Denny walked. Fine. I can deal with that. The next year when Redneck crowned him the HC at minimum wage and didn't even bother looking for the best availabel HC....that pissed me off. I think Tice could easily be a decent HC in the future. I just don't like the fact that the Vikings franchise used many of its potentially productive years giving on-the-job training to an HC with potential when they could have grabbed someone that was proven at HC. Now we trained Tice and developed him to the point of being a medocre coach that could eithat fold, stay mediocre, or excel and cut him loose. Don't waste my time traiing HCs on the Vikings squad so you can save a few bucks.

    2. Is Tice.

    I think Tice can win the winnable games but he has a tough time with consistency. Sure, this is partially explained by his supporting staff or lack thereof. The point I'm trying to make is that during the game, when crucial decisions must be made with little time to make them in he will be outcoached 100% of the time by coaches that know the game well and are, well, how do I say this, more intelligent.

    I think Tice is one of those guys that can be average to slightly above average but will never be an elite HC. Kind of like Lance Armstrong or Tiger Woods. They own their respective sports, that doesn't mean there aren't other good athletes competing against them, it just means they are at another level that is unattainable to some athletes no matter how hard they work. This isn't Tice's fault, he just don't have it in him to be one of the elite HCs.

    ==============

    Now that I'm done with that diatribe I do agree with you, how could I not? Everyone knows Redneck is a tightwad bastard that held the team in check. Tice was not the man for the job at this point in his career and Redneck gave him the reigns. Who wouldn't jump at the opportunity? Tice, when he hits the HC ranks again with a decent owner will do ok. I just don't see him ever winning a Super Bowl as HC. I may be wrong, but I just don't see it happening.

  5. #5
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    Re: What's ahead for Wilf

    "cajunvike" wrote:
    Prophet...that is why Tice never had a chance...even this year...low paid staff...Wilf got what he paid for!
    That's where I disagree with you Caj. You get what you pay for and Tice is part of that equation. With that kind of money we got crappy coach's all the way around for the most part. We basically had guys that were promoted to positions beyond their ability. Not so much with Cottrell but with Loney and Tice for sure. That coupled with not having a full roster of coaches is why we remained a mediocre team even with great players. As I have said before no one else would have hired Tice as a HC. Only in MN as a cost saving measure. All of them did the best job they knew how and could. They weren't holding back because they weren't getting paid enough. And Wilf did bring in additional advisers for them to try to help out, but to no avail. I know you love Tice Cajun, but he just wasn't up to the task. I look a guys with worse records but they also didn't have the talent we have on the Vikes. With the team we had on paper we should have been in the playoffs.

    WWBGD

  6. #6
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    Re: What's ahead for Wilf

    All I can say is this...IF Tice pulls a Belichick and wins big with the next team that he coaches, I will be here to say I told you so. Mind you, I am not saying that he WILL...but the guy is not as dumb as many of you make him out to be. He will get better...and he will get another chance...just like Belichick did (although I don't think that he will ever be as good as Belichick by any means...but I could be wrong about that as well...who knows).
    BANNED OR DEAD...I'LL TAKE EITHER ONE

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    Re: What's ahead for Wilf

    "cajunvike" wrote:
    Prophet...that is why Tice never had a chance...even this year...low paid staff...Wilf got what he paid for!
    Etu Brutay (sp)

    was that a knife?

    I have a pain in my back?

    was that you Wilf or was it Red?

    my eyes are failing me, ooooohhhhh, "thud as the 6-8 giant falls to the stage"

    ----- crowd claps -------- THE END

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    Re: What's ahead for Wilf

    "cajunvike" wrote:
    All I can say is this...IF Tice pulls a Belichick and wins big with the next team that he coaches, I will be here to say I told you so. Mind you, I am not saying that he WILL...but the guy is not as dumb as many of you make him out to be. He will get better...and he will get another chance...just like Belichick did (although I don't think that he will ever be as good as Belichick by any means...but I could be wrong about that as well...who knows).
    many people in baltimore especially believe that his success is a result of a team and not him, they believe that he had a champ when he came in and the team has been going downhill ever since, i dont but thats the word on the street
    I m Down For A Boat Party

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  9. #9
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    Re: What's ahead for Wilf

    "Prophet" wrote:
    Cajun, I agree to that in part.

    I have two levels of gripe with Tice.

    1. Nothing to do with Tice.

    This aspect has to do with him coming on as an interim HC when Denny walked. Fine. I can deal with that. The next year when Redneck crowned him the HC at minimum wage and didn't even bother looking for the best availabel HC....that pissed me off. I think Tice could easily be a decent HC in the future. I just don't like the fact that the Vikings franchise used many of its potentially productive years giving on-the-job training to an HC with potential when they could have grabbed someone that was proven at HC. Now we trained Tice and developed him to the point of being a medocre coach that could eithat fold, stay mediocre, or excel and cut him loose. Don't waste my time traiing HCs on the Vikings squad so you can save a few bucks.
    You know Prophet, my bro and I pondered this question a long time ago and we came up "Red must have been thinking this."

    He must have been thinking, that Moss needed Tice. Remember Moss wasn't getting along with Carter as well and DC was not really the leader yet, kinda green and wet behind the ears. Well, I think he knew Tice had good rapport. The money thing must have been an after thought. ONce he made the decision to promote Tice, he probably explained it to Tice like this, "well, you perform and I will pay, I can't pay you cause you have no experience, you have to pay me cause this is your education." Tice salivated and wagged his tail, "you mean the job is mine."

    Red thought a players coach might be able to handle the Moss Man. Red probably thought it was the best posible solution at the time. After a year or two, it probably dawned on him that maybe, "I can stretch Tice out longer at no pay until I can sell the team because the stadium isn't going to happen in my lifetime, cause I am really really really old."

    Just a thought

  10. #10
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    Re: What's ahead for Wilf

    "SmootCriminal" wrote:
    "cajunvike" wrote:
    All I can say is this...IF Tice pulls a Belichick and wins big with the next team that he coaches, I will be here to say I told you so. Mind you, I am not saying that he WILL...but the guy is not as dumb as many of you make him out to be. He will get better...and he will get another chance...just like Belichick did (although I don't think that he will ever be as good as Belichick by any means...but I could be wrong about that as well...who knows).
    many people in baltimore especially believe that his success is a result of a team and not him, they believe that he had a champ when he came in and the team has been going downhill ever since, i dont but thats the word on the street
    I was talking about Belichick, NOT Billick...but nonetheless, Billick won the Super Bowl with Marvin Lewis's defense...that championship belongs to Marvin Lewis, just like the Tampa Bay Super Bowl trophy belongs to Tony Dungy! But no matter, both of those guys will win one for themselves before it's over, maybe even more than one!
    BANNED OR DEAD...I'LL TAKE EITHER ONE

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