We knew it was only a matter of time before last week’s collapse of the Metrodome became the centerpiece of the Vikings’ effort to replace not just the busted portions of the roof but the entire structure. We didn’t know the effort would begin so soon.
On Friday, Vikings V.P. of stadium development Lester Bagley said that the team has long-term safety concerns regarding the team’s home since 1982.
“We’re going to have to dig into that and get an honest assessment of that,” Bagley said, per Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com. “This is Minnesota, it snows, we’re a hearty bunch, we deal with it. Some people would say, ‘Well, a couple of shingles come off the roof you don’t build a new barn.’ Well, the roof collapsed. We have concerns about the safety of the facility going forward. We’ll deal with that after [Monday’s] game as well as we’ll deal with the financial and economic impacts of what happened.”
The fact that the team has been banging the drum for a new stadium for years makes it hard to assess at first glance whether the safety concerns are genuine. Indeed, despite these supposed concerns, Bagley backed off as to the question of whether the Vikings wouldn’t play in the Metrodome in 2011.
“No, I’m saying we have concerns about the safety and the viability of that structure going forward,” Bagley said.
In our view, the Vikings need to tread lightly here. That Ghost-of-Christmas-Future moment last Monday night, when folks in Minnesota got to see their home team play a home game not in their home of Minnesota, should be enough to wake up the keepers of the public coffers to kick in some coin for the construction of a new stadium. If the Vikings come off as demanding a new home in the wake of last weekend’s events, the natural momentum flowing from a natural disaster could be disrupted.
So just let nature take its course, Vikings. Given that the Superdome has recovered from the horrors of Hurricane Katrina, no one in Minnesota is going to buy the safety argument — especially if it’s acknowledged that safety won’t be an issue during the final year of the team’s lease there.