Vikings are part of state's fabric
In a perfect world it does not take 1,100 millions to build a football stadium for our Minnesota Vikings and No. 1 draft choice Christian Ponder really turns out to be our next superstar quarterback.
Those who have followed the fortunes of the Vikings know that the world they live in is far from perfect. The business side of pro football has been raising its ugly head again this week and it looks like a lockout that started March 10 could finally be ending.
It makes sense that the two sides are finally settling their differences now. You cannot make more money unless you have games and you cannot have games unless you have teams. Teams need time to practice their plays and put their rosters together. This is a business.
The Vikings are dealing with some pretty hard realities this summer. They want a $1.1 billion playground in Arden Hills and they want to turn their terrible 2010 season around. From their perspective, the stadium would be a great start and 30 touchdown passes from Mr. Ponder would be some nice icing on the cake.
You could get some pretty long odds of either one occurring this fall.
The state of Minnesota, the fifth-highest taxed state in America, has spent so much money they started the year with a $6 billion deficit. Common sense tells most of us that if you have those type of money problems you do not entertain ideas throwing $300 million into a project triggered by a pair of rich New Jersey real estate men. That is what occurred this week as the state of Minnesota ended its summer shutdown by tabling any legislative action on the question of going into the football business. The Wilfs can choke on it because their lease is still not up.
It looks like the ball is back in the hands of the Vikings football club. Will the Wilfs hang tough and wait for the state to bring the matter up again, will they sell the team or will they try and get league approval to pack their gear and head for Los Angeles? The nation's second largest city has a beautiful new stadium ready to go.
You do not have to look far to find Minnesotans who would like to see the Vikes leave the state. Let them take their fat wallets and their arrogance somewhere else. These guys have sure got some nerve to be asking for millions after the catastrophic 6-10 season they made us suffer through last year. If a quarterback and a receiver had this kind of timing on a pass route only two of the three possibilities on any pass play would have a chance - the ball would fall incomplete or it would be intercepted.
So why should we seriously consider keeping the Vikings in Minnesota? The revenue a pro football team generates in a city and a state is the bedrock reason but for some of us it has nothing to do with money.
The Vikings have become part of the fabric of Minnesota, just like our Twins. To part with them would be the kind of hit that ends football careers. They are, after all, the Minnesota Vikings. In California they would be just one of four NFL teams.
Fran Tarkenton, Carl Eller, Joe Kapp, Bill Brown, Ron Yary, Alan Page, Mick Tingelhoff, Jim Marshall, Chuck Foreman, Joe Senser, Jeff Siemon, Steve Jordan, Paul Krause, Matt Blair, Randall McDaniel, John Randle, Keith Millard, Chris Doleman, Scott Studwell, Ahmad Rashad, Robert Smith, Cris Carter and Korey Stringer. These have been some of our stars over the past 50 years.
Some of the best NFL coaches in football and Super Bowl winners like Tony Dungy, Brian Billick and Mike Tomlin have passed through Minnesota. Mr. Harry (Bud) Grant is in the Hall of Fame.
Sure they are coming off a crummy season. In many ways the 2010 season was even worse than 3-13 season Les Steckel inflicted on the fans in 1984. They were supposed to win the division again and contend for a Super Bowl trip. Well here is the scoop without the gilt-edged frame. At this point the Vikings are not the best team in the NFL, the NFC or even the NFC Central. They have salary cap problems and some of their starters are going to be playing for other teams this fall. Leslie Frazier and his staff are going to need some time to put a winner on the field. It would be great if their home field next year and in the years ahead happens to be in Minnesota.
It was once said that winter does not begin in Minnesota until after the Vikings have been eliminated. What we are talking about right now is a permanent winter.