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Red McCombs had owned the Minnesota Vikings from 1998-2004 until he sold the team to Zygi Wilf for $600 million in 2005.
Wilf is from New Jersey and grew up a fan of the New York Giants. He was a successful real estate developer before he bought the Vikings. His brother Mark is the co-owner and president of the team.
Wilf also owns Garden Commercial Properties, which is a family business and has been around over 50 years. It develops apartments, shopping centers and office buildings.
When taking over, Wilf’s two biggest goals were to bring a Super Bowl victory and a new stadium to the organization. They are entering year two in U.S. Bank Stadium, which will also host the Super Bowl this year. They still are looking for the first Super Bowl win in franchise history.
“To me, this is not a matter of economics. This is a matter of passion. I’ve always been a strong NFC fan,” said Wilf, a lifelong supporter of the New York Giants. “We will be in the Minneapolis area forever. Look, I’m not changing that at all. We will do our best to make sure that we get the best venue and right location.” (Minnesota Public Radio)
Wilf promised that he would do whatever it takes to build a winner and that spending money would not be an issue. He has lived up to his promise and shown the willingness and commitment to do so.
He made Steve Hutchinson the highest paid guard ever at the time in 2006 (seven years/$49 million) Jared Allen the highest paid defensive player in history in 2008 (six years/$74 million) and Adrian Peterson the highest paid running back in 2011 (seven years/$100 million). He has also locked up many core players since taking over (Harrison Smith, Xavier Rhodes, Everson Griffen, Linval Joseph, Antoine Winfield, etc)
Unfortunately for Wilf and the Vikings, they have not had the success that he had hoped for. Big reason for that has been the lack of stability at quarterback. Brett Favre had a great season in 2009, but struggled in 2010. Tarvaris Jackson and Christian Ponder did not pan out.
Teddy Bridgewater looked like the possible long-term solution but suffered a torn ACL and dislocated knee. He could miss all of this season too especially if Sam Bradford has another good year.
The Vikings have made it to the playoffs only four times with a 1-4 record during his tenure with the team. They advanced to the NFC Championship Game in 2009 but fell in heartbreaking fashion to the New Orleans Saints 31-28 in overtime.
They have went 95-96-1 overall in the regular season. Wilf fired head coach Mike Tice in 2005, Brad Childress in 2010 and Leslie Frazier in 2013. Mike Zimmer is entering year four as the head coach and has been a nice addition to the organization despite only making one playoff appearance.
This will be an interesting season to say the least for Wilf’s club. After going 11-5 and winning the division in 2015, they suffered many injuries and finished 8-8 after starting 5-0. They can the talent to be good, but will they stay healthy and consistent. Will they become the first team in NFL history to win the Super Bowl in their own stadium? That will be very special for this organization. What better way to win your first championship in your own stadium?