Suddenly, there is competition for the site of a potential new Vikings stadium. But are the late-to-the-party entrants doing the issue more harm than good?
Coming out of a season that could best be described as a soap opera – complete with unexpected twists, turns and improbable occurrences happening on a weekly basis – it would seem there is some carryover into the early part of 2011. A couple of months ago, you couldn't get a stadium deal with any teeth. Now, suddenly, there is competition.
Ted Mondale, the head of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, spoke at a commercial real estate forum in Bloomington Tuesday and, when asked by reporters about the stadium question, said a fifth option could be in play for the stadium debate – one that has been in serious discussion before.
The land in question is a property that appeared like a frontrunner four years ago – a land parcel adjacent to the current Metrodome site owned by the Star-Tribune
newspaper. The Vikings had an agreement in principle to buy the property in 2007, but backed out when the economic climate took a downturn and the bond market became too volatile.
The property near the Metrodome is one of five options that have been discussed during the stadium process at the State Legislature as a potential landing spot for the team. The abandoned Arden Hills ammunition plant in Ramsey County is currently getting the most attention. Other sites that have been looked into are the current Metrodome site, a piece of open real estate near Target Field in downtown Minneapolis and a parcel in Brooklyn Park owned by the Target Corp.
It would seem that the sudden competition for the stadium site selection could do more harm than good if it gets legislators off-point while something needs to be done during this Legislative session, or there may be a fracturing of support if multiple locations become part of the argument. Given the partisan politics that has become the norm in recent years, there could be some unanticipated in-fighting that could jeopardize a stadium bill. Maybe cooler heads will prevail, but the latest chapter in this ongoing saga isn't one that should be underestimated or ignored. It could be the eventual solution, or it could potentially torpedo the entire process.
The NFL Scouting Combine begins tomorrow in Indianapolis. Viking Update will be there throughout talking to the players and sending back reports from the Lucas Oil Stadium about whose stock is rising and whose is falling. While the actual value of the Combine can be debated, players see their draft stock skyrocket or plummet by virtue of their individual workouts at the annual scouting cattle call. We will pass along the winners and losers.
There is a strange twist to the Dave Duerson suicide. There are reports of erratic behavior that some have attributed to Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a form of dementia caused by multiple blows to the head that damage the brain. While reports remain limited on his suicide, one thing that has become clear is that Duerson committed suicide by shooting himself in the chest rather than the more common form of handgun suicide – with the victim shooting himself in the head. Duerson asked that his brain be studied to determine if he suffered from CTE. Duerson's family told The New York Times that his suicide note included the sentence, "Please see that my brain is given to the NFL's brain bank." Boston University has become the centerpiece of such studies and where Duerson's brain was sent. Former Viking Wally Hilgenberg had his brain donated for study, which showed advanced degeneration of the brain attributed to CTE. While many will contend that Duerson's suicide was a tragic and misguided decision, his willingness to leave his brain intact for analysis and study to help increase the level of practical data researchers can work with is bizarrely admirable.
Sidney Rice may not be aware that the Vikings franchised Chad Greenway this week because he's on the other side of the world. Rice and Ed Wang of the Buffalo Bills are holding youth clinics in Beijing, China, in hopes of popularizing the NFL game to parts of the world that are currently unfamiliar with the game.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.