With the swish of a pen, Dayton is going to sign the Vikings stadium bill into law.
The media is big on phrases that are immediately familiar. "Anything-gate" is fair game. So is the "War on … whatever." The reasons cited for those designations are that they can be processed by the reader almost immediately. "-gate" means scandal. "War on …" means it has been a battle that wasn't easily won. Most legitimate "Wars on …" are never won. The "War on the Metrodome" was won.
It may never be known how many legislative "yes" votes came after they saw the roof on the Vikings' current home collapse under the weight of a moderate Minnesota winter storm. If it was enough to get the deal done, Vikings fans don't care.
The fight to get the state to kick in money to get a new stadium deal wasn't easy. If not for the unexpected uprising of Vikings fans to inundate their legislators with pleas to vote "green" on the stadium bill, it may never have happened. Many thought it wouldn't. The Vikings have a history of coming up with stadium proposals that, within weeks, were so riddled with opposition bullet holes that dental records were needed for a positive I.D.
In the end, it may well have been the voice – or, more accurately, the electronic communication – of the fans that made the biggest impact on those empowered to potentially kill a stadium bill. Commissioner Roger Goodell, key legislators who put their political necks on the line, and a tireless effort by the organization to get a deal done all were significant contributors, but Dayton gets his "hero moment" today as he signs the stadium into law due in large part to the reality that the Vikings could leave to greener pastures. Will Dayton go down in the lexicon of Winston Churchill, JFK or Wendell Anderson as a folk hero? No. But given the 14-year political malaise that was Jesse Ventura and Tim Pawlenty for the previous decade-plus, he's the governor who "saved the Vikings" for Minnesota.
Sign away, Governor Dayton. It happened on your watch. Your legacy is set – regardless of what gridlock battles you have from here on through.
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.