Zygi Wilf enters his 12th season as an owner of the Minnesota Vikings in 2016. The Wilf family has transformed the organization since the onset of purchasing the club in 2005. Zygi and his brother Mark’s continued focus has been on creating a world class organization that can consistently win and sustain success while providing the best fan engagement experiences in the NFL and making a positive impact on the Minneapolis/St. Paul community and the State of Minnesota.
One of the most significant developments in their history is the new state-of-the-art U.S. Bank Stadium that was completed and opened in July 2016. As the largest construction project in state history, the new stadium employed nearly 8,000 construction workers and already has had a significant economic impact on the region, sparking nearly 20 development projects and serving as a multi-use facility capable of hosting more events than any stadium in the country. Under Zygi’s stewardship, the franchise delivered a historic public-private partnership to build the multi-use stadium that will serve as the centerpiece of an economic development package for the state and region and a transformation of East Town. Since passing legislation in 2012 that included a $477 million team/private contribution, the Wilfs have since guaranteed an additional $125 million toward the project as they remain committed to investing in the state’s economy and dedicated to providing a world-class showcase for Minnesota’s sporting future.
Another of their most compelling achievements came on the heels of the December 2013 new stadium ground breaking, as Minnesota defeated New Orleans and Indianapolis in a bid to bring Super Bowl LII to the new stadium in February 2018. Wilf served as Honorary Co-Chair of the Minnesota Super Bowl Bid Committee and led a determined campaign focusing on conversations with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and other NFL owners and creating terrific collaboration with Minneapolis business and civic leaders in their efforts. The result was Minnesota being named host of Super Bowl LII on February 4, 2018, over the other finalists – New Orleans and Indianapolis. Minnesota will host the event for the second time, the previous being Super Bowl XXVI on January 26, 1992, and Wilf continues to serve as Honorary Co-Chair of the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee.
The team has continued to pave a path critical to their core values, enhancing their already strong reputation as an NFL leader in community relations activities. Zygi and the Vikings fully embrace what the Vikings mean to the fabric of the Minneapolis/St. Paul region and are heavily involved in business and civic endeavors and have a particular dedication to children’s health issues. In February 2015, Zygi and his brother Mark donated $5 million to the University of Minnesota to create the Wilf Family Center. The Center, designed to be the intellectual center of children’s health care in the Midwest, will have an impact extending far beyond the region’s borders.
In addition, Mark and Zygi and the Wilf Family Foundation have provided significant grants and donations to numerous charitable causes throughout the state of Minnesota and have also made a positive impact through their donations around the world.
Zygi and Mark lead an ownership group that closely mirrors the structure by which they have led their business ventures with Garden Homes Development, a nationwide leader in retail, commercial and private residential development. Joining Zygi in the Vikings venture are his brother, Mark, cousin, Leonard, son, Jonathan, and nephew, Jeffrey, along with associates from outside the family.
The journey for Wilf from avid New York Giants fan sitting in the bleachers of Yankee Stadium in the 1960s to taking over the leadership of one of the NFL’s proudest franchises has been marked by bold and well-founded business decisions, commitment to family and employees, and dedication to community. Wilf was recognized in 2013 with the Fritz Pollard Alliance’s Tank Younger Award in honor of his commitment to hiring and promoting minority candidates on the football and business side of the Vikings franchise.
Wilf, the son of Joseph and Elizabeth Wilf, emigrated with his parents from Europe to the United States in the early 1950s and settled in New Jersey. He attended nearby Fairleigh Dickinson University, earning a bachelor’s degree in economics and later graduated from New York Law School in Manhattan. Wilf, and wife, Audrey, have four children.