Vikings owner Mark Wilf calls London a 'great experience,' doesn't rule out another visit
LONDON — The Vikings have been to London twice this decade. Would they be willing to go again?
Vikings owner Mark Wilf said Friday that could be a possibility.
"Potentially,'' Wilf said. "We've had a great experience so far here, and we will be supportive of the league's efforts on the International Series wherever we can. So that could mean that.''
In 2013, the Vikings gave up a home game and beat Pittsburgh 34-27 at Wembley Stadium. On Sunday, they will be the road team against Cleveland at Twickenham Stadium.
Wilf was noncommittal when asked if the Vikings would be willing to give up another home game to take part in the NFL International Series, which also includes games in Mexico City.
"I know we have that possibility as an option, but we have such a fan great experience (at U.S. Bank Stadium) and we're trying to settle that in,'' Wilf said. "Right now, we're just focusing as a road team this week.''
Wilf said he could see the NFL eventually placing a team in London.
"I think so,'' Wilf said. "I think it can. There's a lot of logistics to it, a lot of things have to be worked through. ... I think the knowledge of the game and the fan base here has grown tremendously (since the first regular-season game in London in 2007).''
Wilf said distance would be a concern and any NFL team in London might also need to have some sort of U.S. base.
As for Vikings quarterback Case Keenum, he would have no problem if the NFL put a team in London.
"Talking to my wife, I think it'd be fun to live here for a certain period of time,'' Keenum said.
Wilf on Wednesday also addressed the state of the Vikings. He is pleased with their 5-2 record despite having had a number of injuries.
"I really like where the team is,'' Wilf said. "I know Coach (Mike) Zimmer and (general manager) Rick Spielman have done a great job in terms of being about next man up. ... I think this year I really have a good feeling in terms of what that means. We have faced adversity. ... I think the depth (of the team) has improved considerably.''
Griffen misses Thomas
Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen was looking forward to meeting up with Browns all-pro left tackle Joe Thomas. Alas, Thomas last week suffered a torn triceps injury, ending his consecutive snaps played streak of 10,363.
"I really wanted to go up against Joe Thomas," Griffen said. "He's one of the best. I like to go against the best because that's where you make a name for yourself."
Instead, Griffen will run into second-year man Spencer Drago, a converted guard who has played just 15 snaps at left tackle. Griffen said Drago is "a little slower'' and that he plans to use his speed against him.
Griffen has had at least one sack in each of Minnesota's seven games. He is one shy of the team record of a sack in eight consecutive games, shared by Jim Marshall and Jared Allen.
Going against Drago could help Griffen's cause. He also will be facing a rookie quarterback in DeShone Kizer.
"At the end of the day, once they get in a passing situation, we got to hunt the quarterback," Griffen said.
Support for Sendejo
Safety Harrison Smith was one of at least five Minnesota this week to wear homemade T-shirts that read "#FREEDEJO" in support of Andrew Sendejo. The safety was suspended for one game for a hit Sunday that left Baltimore wide receiver Mike Wallace with a concussion, and Sendejo didn't travel to London.
"I wasn't a fan of it,'' Smith said of the suspension. "It's not for me to say (if it was fair), but I'm always going to be on Dejo's side.''
Smith has kept in touch with Sendejo since the suspension was announced Monday.
"He's one of my good buddies off the field as well,'' Smith said. "You hate to see one of your buddies get suspended. I'm just making sure he's good and ready to go when he comes back.''
Anthony Harris is expected to replace Sendejo in the lineup.