With the effort to build a new Vikings stadium once again dead in the water of 10,000 lakes, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has explained in no uncertain terms the realities of the situation.
“We’ve got to get a stadium next year or the Vikings will leave,” Dayton said Tuesday, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
He’s right, sort of. The deal needs to be in place by February 15, 2013, or the Vikings will leave. February 15 is the annual date by which a team must inform the NFL or an intention to relocate.
Thus, this needs to happen quickly, if it’s going to happen at all. As a practical matter, the process should get rolling as soon as possible after a November election in which every legislative seat will be up for grabs.
“If it doesn’t work out, we’ll get it next year,” Dayton said. “If Minneapolis doesn’t want it — most of their legislators are opposed to it, half of the City Council, almost half, is opposed to it, so if Minneapolis doesn’t want it . . . then somewhere else, Arden Hills, some other site in Minnesota.” (Perhaps the fact that the folks in Minneapolis don’t want the stadium should have been taken a bit more seriously, before the Governor killed the Arden Hills project and crammed the Minneapolis site down the team’s throat.)
“We can’t have it both ways. We can’t not do a new stadium and have the Vikings remain here for very long,” Dayton said.
Meanwhile, even with Dayton sounding the alarm, folks won’t take the situation seriously until the Vikings say that, without a stadium, they’ll move. It could be that owner Zygi Wilf will continue to kick in more and more cash until the public contribution is sufficiently low to get the attention of the powers-that-be.
Or maybe, if no public money will be devoted to the project, Wilf will get a loan and build his own stadium.
Regardless, no one is taking the “or else” seriously, because the Vikings have never said “or else.”
The fact that they haven’t said “or else” could be connected to their chronic failure to get a stadium.
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