Stadium Talk With Grant’s Tomb

Darren Campbell of the incredibly informative Vikings blog Grant’s Tomb volunteered to write an article for me updating us on the latest news surrounding the stadium battle.

Naturally, my laziness and loathing of the topic had me ecstatic to receive his offer.  Darren is a great writer, with a great site, and I hope you will all help me thank him for the post by visiting Grant’s Tomb today.  Besides, his ability to use the word “bafflegab” in the following article officially makes him a better blogger than me by immeasurable amounts.

To view the word “bafflegab” (and the rest of Darren’s article) click the button and make the jump.

Vikings decision not to relocate ensures another year of worrying fans.

February 15th, 2011 should have been a good day for Minnesota Vikings fans. That was the deadline for NFL teams to indicate they wanted to relocate. But the Vikings – even with its Metrodome lease expired and no deal in place to build a new stadium anywhere in Minnesota – let the deadline come and go without doing anything.

So the Vikes will play the 2012 season in Minnesota. That should be great news, right? The Vikings and state and city politicians now have another 12 months to work on a stadium deal before the team can officially broach the subject with the league again. The pressure is off. There are no tight timelines to get something done. Both sides now have the time to get the right deal in place – one that will be good for the Vikings and good for the public.

However, I don’t view the Vikings passing on filing any relocation requests as positive. In fact, I think it’s a negative if we’re looking for a resolution to an issue that’s dragged on far too long.

What I fear the Vikings have actually done is doom its loyal fans to another year of worrying about the franchise’s future beyond 2012.

And I write that because as a guy who is a pretty good procrastinator, I know that there is nothing like a deadline – or a missed deadline – to spur on action.

That certainly holds true in professional sports. We saw it with the NFL and NBA lockouts. It didn’t seem like negotiations in both cases really got going in earnest until the owners locked out the players and both sides had no choice but to work something out.

My view is the Vikings stadium saga is the same deal. While the three central public figures in these talks – the Vikings Lester Bagley, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak – are currently saying nice things about a plan to build a new stadium over 11th Ave. South on the east side of the Metrodome, there are a lot of moving parts in that proposal .

And as the Vikings and the state work on a deal, Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission Chairman Ted Mondale said this week that there is still a bit of work to be done before an agreement to build on that site can be consummated. “The little detail is we have to get a Legislature and a City Council to back it.”  

Good luck with that, Ted.

I think ESPN’s Kevin Seifert had it right this week when he blogged about the Vikings decision to let the Feb. 15th deadline to relocate pass.  His view was the Vikings willingly gave up any leverage it had on this issue and ensured this is going to drag on longer than it had to.

Vikings fans, and Minnesotans in general, would have been mad if the Wilf’s had used the relocation card with the NFL on Wednesday. But at least it would have signaled the first real decision made by anyone on the stadium issue since, well, ever.

Instead, Vikings fans are likely going to get another year of wrangling and bafflegab from the team’s owners and state and city politicians on this. The Vikings are no closer today to resolving their stadium issue than they were a year ago. And they are no less a threat to move to another city than they were a year ago, either. Expect 2012 to feel a lot like 2011 when it comes to the Vikings future in Minnesota.