Nostalgia, and $975 million, should get a new stadium built for the Purple Gang
Now that the boys have cooked up a deal for a new Vikings Pleasure Palace in downtown Minneapolis they want support from the media. After all, they still have to secure the blessings of the Minnesota Legislature. When you are taking on a body like that you need all the help you can get. There is even strong talk of a referendum by Minneapolis residents.
Here is one media type that has always supported the idea of keeping the Vikes in Minnesota. No one is going to deny that the $975 million price tag is insanely high but that is part of the package. The people who built and opened the Metrodome in 1982 showed some foresight by making it an indoor facility with a fan capacity of 63,000 but they could not know what was 30 years down the road.
The question now is would spending in the neighborhood of $1 billion make the Vikings a better football team? Everyone should agree that where you play will always be less important than how well you play. The stadium issue has been like the fixation some people have on weddings. A beautiful wedding ceremony is nice but what really counts is the marriage that follows. Are the Vikes going to be magically transformed into a Super Bowl champion because two real estate men from New Jersey stand to make more money?
It will generate taxes, bars and restaurants will flourish and a lot of construction people are going to be put to work. It was from one of these Twin Cities-area construction types that told me three years ago contracts had been signed paving the way for a new stadium. Once you hear some inside information like that you tell yourself the rest is just smoke -- the Vikings are going to have a new place to play.
Private suites for corporate executives and their clients and Sunday afternoon hangouts for purple-painted party hounds are not worth building a new stadium for but the fun of watching, listening and following a Minnesota pro football franchise with ties that go back 50 years? That is the hook that a lot of football lovers will bite on because it is baited with nostalgia.
Several generations of football fans have followed the Vikes since Max Winter and four other Minnesota businessmen first brought a NFL franchise to Minnesota. Over the years the Vikes have supplied the roller coaster that the rest of us have traveled - up and down - with names like Fran Tarkenton, Paul Flatley, Bill Brown, Carl Eller, Fred Cox, Jim Marshall, Alan Page, Paul Krause, Matt Blair, Chuck Foreman, Chris Doleman, Keith Millard, Ahmad Rashad, Steve Jordan, John Randle, Scott Studwell, Keith Millard, Cris Carter, Randy Moss, Robert Smith, Adrian Peterson and Jared Allen.
If the Vikings were really the losers they were in 2011 there would probably no longer be a pro football team in Minnesota but the plain truth is that they are not losers. This franchise has made it to the playoffs 26 times, won 18 division titles and been to nine championship games. One of these years they are liable to shake off their Super Bowl curse and when they do it would be only to fitting if they were doing it as the Minnesota Vikings.