Vikings claim stadium remains on course

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The stakes continue to rise in the eleventh-hour stare down over the new Vikings stadium.

The Vikings have pressed “pause” on negotiations with the Metropolitan Sports Facility Administration regarding the final details of a stadium deal, pending the resolution of a sudden investigation of team ownership following findings of fraud and civil racketeering in an unrelated New Jersey lawsuit.  Obviously, a delay in the finalization of the documents could delay the commencement of stadium construction, which in turn could delay the completion of the project.

The Vikings have issued a statement dressed as an article that explains the situation from the team’s perspective.  In it, Director of Corporate Communications Jeff Anderson writes that the project “remains on time and on budget.”

He’s right.  For now.  Eventually, however, the delay necessarily will impact the project, if the final agreements aren’t negotiated and executed.

Anderson explains that the Vikings have suspended the negotiations because the agreements at issue “are fundamental documents to this public-private partnership and should not be entered into lightly,” and that “the MSFA must feel entirely confident about the Wilfs’ ability to fulfill their stadium obligations” before moving forward.

Again, he’s right.  But this isn’t about signing the agreements.  It’s about continuing with negotiations aimed at finalizing the agreements so that they eventually can be signed.  Why not continue the negotiations so that pens can be put to paper the moment the pending investigation of the Wilfs results in an all clear?

Perhaps the Vikings fear that they’ll be squeezed into making concessions during negotiations that occur while the review of the Wilfs proceeds.  By waiting until the review has ended, the MSFA won’t be able to say, for example, “We have one lingering concern about X, and if you yield on point Y we’ll forget about it.”

Or maybe the Vikings want to force the powers-that-be to get the examination concluded quickly.  While there’s currently no reason to believe that anything tangible will be found to suggest that the deal should be unraveled, the more time the investigators have the greater the chance someone will try to justify his or her fee by making an issue out of something that shouldn’t be an issue.

Regardless, the Vikings have taken a fairly aggressive position in response to a fairly aggressive ploy from the MSFA.  It easily could devolve into a game of chicken, with the Vikings eventually flying the coop.

That’s still a long way from happening.  But it’s a lot closer than it was a month ago.

13 responses to “Vikings claim stadium remains on course

  1. It will be interesting to hear how much the Wilf family of fraudsters, racketeers, and contract breachers have to pay up after losing their 20-year court battle. If it’s a huge settlement, will the Wilfs be able to pay for their share of the stadium? If not, will the NFL save them, or tell the Wilfs that it’s time to sell? And, if they are forced to stop tainting the NFL’s name, what’s the valuation of the team in the middle of this mess?

    This seems like an excellent time for Vikings fans to find their checkbooks and pledge some support toward stadium construction. But, that would involve a level of personal investment and pride that Vikings fans don’t seem to be willing to me. Instead, they through a lot of sweat equity into squeezing money out of taxpayers to subsidize their entertainment.

  2. Any state that elects Jesse Ventura as their governor and sends Al Franken to the U.S. Senate does not deserve an NFL team.

  3. But why shouldn’t the racketeering charge be an issue if it is deemed that Wilf is more risky than previous appearances indicated? Shouldn’t that be reflected in the arrangement of the terms? New information should lead to new monetary calculations based on the new and updated risk profile.

  4. Ploy is the correct term when describing the MN Politician’s move. Their position is based on pure speculation.

    Aggressive response is appropriate by the team.

    If any party can doubt the others equation in their current deal, it should be the Vikings being suspicious about the State’s pull tab numbers. You don’t see the squeeze here now do you?

  5. unless the wilfs killed a few people – this is going forward. They just need a few attorneys to make a few bucks to make the incase they had killed a few people feel better…and tell a few lies using legal ease.. then sign off. The Vikes are a MN investment and commerce unlike some of the roads they repave every 5 years that don’t need it. My only beef is taxing cigarettes – but it helps make the smelly libs feel better. Besides – its an extra road trip to North Dakota which isn’t that bad for Walleye fishing in the fall.

  6. And Jessie Ventura was a great Governer – unlike the jack as es MN had since then that did nothing but raise taxes through the roof and chase jobs out of the state.

  7. As every New York gangster knows, extortion is a beautiful thing. Build me a billion dollar stadium or we’ll move the team to LA. Not even Jesse Ventura or Al Franken would support this deal. Your current beloved governor already has made a deal with the devil.

  8. No deal is signed.

    The financing has not been figured out.

    They have not had the election required by the county.

    Hopefully the Wilfs move the team to a more supportive area. That new stadium in Guadalajara Mexico is not an option to overlook.

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