Between Bountygate and the Peyton chase and free agency, it’s been nice to ignore the never-ending stadium quest in Minnesota. (Coincidentally, an old PFT page linked last night addressed the team’s frustration with the political reluctance to build a new venue . . . 10 years ago.)
Now that things are slowing down a little bit, and in order to prove yet again that I have no life by working on a Saturday night, let’s consider the status of the effort. Last we heard, there was reason for optimism. The team, the Governor, legislative leaders, and the Mayor of Minneapolis had struck a deal for a new dome, right next to the current Metrodome.
Pending, of course, approval by the Legislature and the Minneapolis City Council.
As to the former, it’s not looking good. The politicians are dragging their feet, and for good reason. It’s an election year. Every seat in the House and Senate will be up for grabs, and if the stadium deal is struck without a referendum on the use of public money, the election for every seat in the Legislature will serve as said referendum. Also, the City Council doesn’t seem to be enthused about sealing the deal, regardless of whether a loophole can be engineered regarding a City Charter provision requiring a vote on any investment in a sports facility in excess of $10 million.
Why can’t the Vikings get this ball rolling, even with an expired lease? It’s obvious. The politicians don’t fear that the Vikings will leave.
So they should leave.
Before that, owner Zygi Wilf should hold a press conference announcing that the team will spend one more season in the Metrodome, and then the team will play as of 2013 in a stadium in the city and the state that wants the Vikings the most.
Wilf needs to say it, and he needs to mean it. Otherwise, the folks in Minnesota will never wake up and get this done.
And if they don’t wake up and get this done in response to such a clear proposition, it’s never getting done. At least the Vikings will know where they stand.