EAGAN, Minn. – The landscape and logistics of the 2020 NFL season have changed, but the Vikings expectations have not.
Vikings Owner/President Mark Wilf addressed members of the media via video conference Monday morning and was asked about his outlook for the 2020 campaign. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic creating a number of hurdles, including a drastically altered offseason program and Minnesota opening its season with no fans at U.S. Bank Stadium, Wilf emphasized that the team's goals remain the same.
"Our expectations are always to win a Super Bowl championship – that never changes," Wilf said. "We know as ownership and as stewards of a great franchise, and we know what our fans want, and I know that's how [Head Coach Mike Zimmer] and [General Manager] Rick Spielman and the entire football organization are striving for every day.
"[We're] really excited about the moves we made in free agency and the draft," he continued, "[and] this week we're just focusing on a really challenging team, the Green Bay Packers, and opening our season at home with a victory, hopefully."
Wilf was later asked about his level of patience in the quest for a Lombardi Trophy.
He noted that it's something ownership is constantly weighing but that they've been pleased overall with the team's progress in the Zimmer era (2014-present).
"You have to balance the fact that you want to have stability in an organization, you want to make sure that the systems are in place, the comfort level is in place, but everybody knows you're only judged by your wins and losses," Wilf said. "That's a fine line we judge every day. We took a look in this offseason, and I said early on in the offseason, we feel really good about the football organization we have in place, that they can get the job done. Right now that's where we're at.
"As ownership you balance those things, but to be knee-jerk and to be too impulsive – our goal is to get to the playoffs, achieve sustained success and keep knocking at the door, and eventually that door will come down," Wilf added. "I think we've proven over these past few years that our football success has improved, but again, we know what our ultimate goal is. But you can't get to that goal unless you're consistently strong, consistently in the playoffs, consistently winning divisions, and those are our goals to leap off and eventually get to the championship."
The confidence that the Wilf family has in the Vikings leadership was reflected this offseason when Zimmer and Spielman signed multiyear extensions.
Wilf stated that he, along with Owner/Chairman Zygi Wilf, felt confident in the decision to continue backing the Spielman-Zimmer team.
"Coach Zimmer and Rick have done an outstanding job bringing in the right kind of players, working well together and getting the best team possible on the field," Wilf said. "As our ownership, we just felt it was important for the fans and for the team, that we had that stability going forward. We feel very strongly, that with this leadership, we can get the job done."
Asked why the extensions were inked farther into the offseason than in previous years, Wilf pointed to the strange circumstances of 2020 but reiterated his faith in the duo.
"It's been a crazy time, but there was never any question in our mind, as I said back then," he said. "We continued to work through it, it was productive and those are just normal business course of things.
"Like I said, we're very confident in our football organization, even though we had challenges we've all had," Wilf added. "We're no different as a club and as a business. We got the job done on that front, and we're very excited about the future of the Vikings."
Wilf also spoke to the extension of Kirk Cousins that will keep the quarterback in Purple through 2022.
The ownership group takes seriously what Spielman and the coaches say about the players, Wilf noted, adding that Cousins is a "critical" part of the Vikings roster.
"He's a leader in our locker room, and his play has really demonstrated warranting that kind of move," Wilf said. "On all fronts, we were very supportive."
He pointed to Cousins' 2019 campaign that included a comeback win against Denver, Sunday Night Football victory at Dallas and of course the stunning Wild Card upset of the Saints on the road.
"Last year we saw him step up and take steps in an already successful career," Wilf said. "Our coaches and personnel folks have that confidence in him, and we do as well. That really made all the sense to go forward that way."