Amid a flurry of bad news for the Vikings, Peter King of Sports Illustrated and NBC Sports says the team's desire for a new stadium will come true.
At a time when the Vikings have very little in the way of good news with a 3-12 record, their quarterback of the future banged up with a concussion and their franchise player's future in question as he prepares to go under the knife, Peter King of Sports Illustrated
and NBC Sports provided a nugget of hope for Vikings fans.
King, providing his weekly news and notes segment, stated that, from the sources he has talked to, is isn't a matter of "if" the Vikings get a new stadium deal done with the State of Minnesota, but "when." Given King's extensive connections with the top level of power in the NFL, Vikings fans hope he isn't simply blowing smoke and maybe there is validity to the word he's getting from his sources. However, that sentiment has been published locally before without any tangible results.
The stadium issue has become a glimpse behind the curtain as to how deals get done in state and national politics. There has been a lot of acrimony from new legislators that were elected on the pledge of no new taxes. House and Senate leaders have been working behind the scenes with the Vikings to come to an agreement on how the state can fund its portion of a stadium project with revenue created rather than taxes imposed.
Given the timeline of the Vikings' current situation – their lease at the Metrodome effectively ends when the clock strikes :00 at the end of Sunday's game with the Chicago Bears
– there is a sense of urgency like never before to strike a stadium deal.
While there are still plenty of unanswered questions, primary among them being where the stadium will be – either the preferred Vikings site in Arden Hills or one of multiple sites being proposed by scrambling business and political leaders in Minneapolis – Vikings fans may have received a Christmas present they so sorely needed following the news of Adrian Peterson
's significant knee injury. It may have to wait until January or later to be officially opened, but, if King's sources are accurate, there could be no better news for fans and team officials in a season devoid of positives that the Vikings will remain the Minnesota Vikings
for decades to come.
With Sunday's win over the Bears, not only did the Packers assure themselves the No. 1 seed in the playoffs, they eliminated the Bears from the postseason. In an ironic twist, in Week 17 last season, the Bears lost to Green Bay in a game in which they rested some of their injured starters because they were guaranteed a first-round bye before the game was played. Without that win, the Packers wouldn't have made the playoffs and, as a result, had the Bears to thank in some fashion for winning the Super Bowl. The 2011 Packers weren't nearly as generous and did their part to end any hope of returning the favor and leaving the door open for Chicago to return to the playoffs.
Five of the six NFC playoff teams have already been set, but, aside from the Packers being assured of the No. 1 seed, nothing else is settled in the seedings. It is already known that the 49ers, Saints, Falcons and Lions will be in the playoffs and that the Lions will be one of the two wild card teams. The Saints can lock down the NFC South with a win over Atlanta tonight, but all that will accomplish is to set who the two wild card teams will be. San Francisco and New Orleans are still fighting it out for the No. 2 seed and a first-round playoff bye, which could be vital, because, not only would the team that doesn't get the No. 2 seed have to play in the wild card round of the playoffs, but, if that team wins, its next game would come on the road against the No. 2 seed.
The only position that hasn't been determined is the No. 4 seed, which will be either the Giants or Cowboys – who play at the Meadowlands Sunday night. The winner of the division will have nine wins and could well have the worst record of the six NFC playoff teams. It will be a win-and-you're-in scenario that will add to the drama the NFL has so skillfully been able to create in recent years.
The 9-7 champion from the NFC East is historic because, since the division was created following the NFL-AFL merger in 1970, there hasn't been a champion from the East that hasn't won at least 10 games until this year.
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.