"I expect to be (NFC North) division champs.”
With that statement made to 1500ESPN by Zygi Wilf, the Vikings owner has completely altered the expectations for the 2012 season.
Compete for an NFC North title? Most fans would be happy if this team wins more games than it did last season.
I believe Wilf to be an intelligent businessman. He’s the head of Garden Commercial Properties, a New Jersey real estate company, which makes Wilf worth $1.3 billion.
He must have done something right during his life in order to be in position to be a lead owner of an NFL franchise. Non-savvy businessmen do not own professional sports franchises.
With that in mind, Wilf cannot realistically expect the 2012 Minnesota Vikings to win the NFC North. There's no logical reason to believe Wilf or to expect Minnesota to be division champs.
That statement was made from the position of a man who wants to build excitement for a 2012 season and encourage as many fans as possible through the gates at Mall of America Field.
Believe me, there is excitement surrounding this team. But it doesn’t have to do with winning a division title in 2012.
Do you believe Zygi Wilf expects a division championship in 2012?
Fans are excited to watch Christian Ponder progress as an NFL quarterback. They want to see what type of player Adrian Peterson is after a torn ACL and MCL. They want to see if Toby Gerhart can play at the level of a No. 1 running back in this league.
The list goes on.
But the point should be clear: Fans are anxious to watch this team progress in 2012. They aren’t expecting to win a division title in 2012. They are well aware that the odds are slim that Minnesota competes for the division crown let alone wins it.
Remember, this was a team that was 3-13 last year. It owned the third worst record in the NFL. It allowed the most passing touchdowns in the NFL. It was tied for fewest interceptions (eight).
The list could go on for some time regarding the deficiencies of the 2011 Minnesota Vikings. The point is clear: this team had numerous holes in 2011 and will still have plenty of holes in 2012.
On top of the internal deficiencies, there are the external problems: Minnesota plays in the toughest division in the NFC.
The Detroit Lions earned a wild card (10-6) and have the same top-tier offense returning. The Chicago Bears' season was derailed by injuries to Matt Forte and Jay Cutler. Before the injuries, Chicago was a playoff contender. After those injuries Chicago finished 8-8. Forte and Cutler are healthy, and the offense added Brandon Marshall.
These three teams will all compete for the postseason in 2012.
All of that combined with few offseason acquisitions outside of the draft, and the Vikings are primed for a top-10 selection in the 2013 NFL Draft and not a 2012 NFC North title.