MAPLE GROVE, Minn. — Vikings Owner/Chairman Zygi Wilf said Wednesday that he's "never been more optimistic" about the Vikings future during his family's ownership of the team.
Wilf and his family recently reached the 10th anniversary of purchasing the team, which he said is stewardship of the franchise.
"I've never been more optimistic since we've owned the team about our players, our head coach, our organization and the direction we're headed," Wilf said during a session with reporters at the 27th annual golf tournament to benefit the Vikings Children's Fund.
A few reasons for the optimism include: the new Vikings stadium being more than 50 percent complete, with the state-of-the-art venue on schedule for completion in July 2016; what he has seen from Head Coach Mike Zimmer since January 2014; the blend of experienced players and the growth of recent young talent.
Wilf said the goal of building the new stadium was to create a venue for families to "continue to enjoy the team and win a championship." It also, he said, will provide an opportunity for the Twin Cities and Minnesota to showcase the Upper Midwest.
"It's going to be a great venue for our fans," Wilf said. "Fans here and nationwide will come back to watch the games because of the experience that they'll have in this 21st Century stadium that will be rivaled by none, including the fantasy football experience and all the things you want from the stadium. It's going to be great."
Wilf said the new stadium, which is about twice the square footage of the Metrodome, will maintain a close-to-the-action experience so that "everyone who is in that stadium is going to feel a part of that field."
It also will feature "a lot more besides the view: great concessions, a club that's concentrated on the fantasy football experience, the whole game-day experience, the high technology, the Wifi, the look, the feel, everything that the Minnesota Vikings, the fans especially, and the people that are going to come to the events really enjoy and feel proud."
Wilf was asked about the return of Adrian Peterson last week after the running back missed all but one game in 2014.
"He has a great heart, has been great for the community and that's basically who he is," Wilf said. "When you know that's the character of that person, you believe in him and you move on. We know that his excitement and his heart will make this team better. You could see it by the way the other players respond to him. That's why it is very exciting, that and everything else going on with the team. We have tremendous optimism going into the future."
Wilf was also asked about the role of Peterson's relationship with Zimmer.
"I credit Mike as being a coach who's strong, who helps every player get better and everybody feel like they're a part of something special," Wilf said. "That's what's going to make him a great coach, his ability to teach players, to get into the program, to be better and to really have the enthusiasm as a team to go to the next level, which we're optimistic we're on."
Wilf said Teddy Bridgewater "surpassed everything I expected" in his rookie season and he's excited to see the quarterback prepare for his second year.
"The way he carries on, the confidence, the leadership that he's showing, the pride in leadership, his ability on the field, his presence on the field, there's a lot for our fans to be excited about," Wilf said. "That, with the coach, with all the players are going to make a great season for many seasons ahead of great football for the Vikings. I think we're going to show it year after year."