Let's see if we have this right. Red McCombs sold the Vikings because no stuffed suit in a position of "Harrumph!" prominence in state government cared much about his plea for a new stadium. Right? As best recollection serves, it was something on the order of telling Big Red, "Don't let the door hit ya on the way out." He left the Capitol with his 10-gallon hat in his hand more times than he wants to remember.
Since the Wilf family bought the Vikings, politicians have treated the issue of a new stadium the same way they would an aluminum-foil potato grabbed off the hot grill with a bare hand. That sounds about right, doesn't it?
Who would have thought that, with the wheels of back-door politics spinning fast enough to leave marks, suddenly the Wilfs are the most popular guys at the prom? Strange days indeed.
In the last 100 hours, Hennepin County has bowed out gracefully from any competition for a stadium, giving the blackjack dealer clap and walking away from the table. The coals in Ramsey County went from orange hot to white hot, despite news reports from across the river that a stadium deal may not get done this session. The Wilfs met with Ramsey County officials and word has it that they're willing to kick in 40 percent of the costs instead of 33 and change. We have a frontrunner.
Enter the City of Minneapolis, stage left. Wearing the tiara of an aging prom queen, the city has scheduled a press conference for this afternoon to lay out its proposal for a stadium deal, according to the Star Tribune. It would keep the Vikings at the Metrodome site and produce some additional money for a Botox injection into Target Center.
While the full plan has yet to be unveiled, a press conference has been called for this afternoon to give a pitch to the Wilfs for a 20-year slow dance at the familiar haunt.
The Wilfs have agreed to pay 40 percent of the cost of a new stadium in Ramsey County, but that would cost more than a Metrodome-site stadium because in Minneapolis the infrastructure is already in place. Under the Minneapolis proposal, the city would pay 25 percent of the cost. The state has a general framework of a three-way dance for paying for a new stadium.
With the Vikings willing to pay 40 percent of a stadium plan in Ramsey County, if the county is still willing to kick in at least one-third, the state share drops to roughly 27 percent. Under the Minneapolis plan, 65 percent would be covered – given the assumption that the Wilfs are willing to kick in their 40-percent to a Minneapolis plan. The other 35 percent? Unless there is a significant home-field infrastructure discount, it would seem the state would be on the hook for the difference.
The impromptu media get-together seems like one final push by Minneapolis to keep the Vikings from moving out to the 'burbs. Whether it has been called to appease hard-liners who don't like the idea of an empty Teflon dinosaur on the east end of town or is a legitimate push to keep the Vikings in the 612 is up to debate. Will it work? That depends on how effective the proposal sounds.
The Minneapolis proposal has the appearance of a last-ditch effort to make a public case for keeping the Vikings at the Metrodome site, albeit a new-and-improved version. We will find out today if the proposal is a legitimate contender or not.
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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.
Minneapolis enters the stadium fray again
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