Stadium Jockeying Continues

Attorneys for Red McCombs have found what they consider to be loopholes in the Metrodome lease that could allow the team to get out of the Metrodome. But the issue is much more complicated than that.

Last month, Red McCombs met with Commissioner Paul Tagliabue to talk about his stadium woes in Minnesota. Tags seemed to side with McCombs, saying the Metrodome isn't a suitable NFL venue.

Now VU is hearing that a couple of McCombs' attorneys are convinced the Vikings can get out of the Metrodome lease if they so choose, but the issue isn't as simple as potentially poor wording of lease language.

The only reason to break the lease and, according to Red's attorneys, pay penalty fees through 2011 is to relocate the team. At that point, it wouldn't be the lease that would be the problem, it would be bitter Legislators who still hold a piece of paper signed by the commissioner's office promising Minnesota a NFL franchise -- the Vikes or someone else -- through the end of the 20-year Metrodome lease in 2011.

Throw in Al Davis, the Oakland owner with a pending $1.2 billion lawsuit vs. the NFL for what he sees as obstruction in a stadium deal in Los Angeles and you have more trouble. Davis believes he still owns the rights to the L.A. territory in the NFL and should have dibs over the Vikings, Chargers and Colts -- the three teams rumored to be moving.

These all add up for trouble for McCombs. If he leaves, he will be subject to lawsuits from the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, the state and probably even a class-action suit from Vikings fans. All of these will result in untold millions being lost in lawyer fees -- tens of millions.

At VU, we're hoping this is all just posturing to get more people saying, "If we don't build it, they won't stay." If not, the saga of the Minnesota Vikings could end in years of arguments and legal wrangling, not finally winning the Super Bowl title that has eluded them for more than 40 years.

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