Holler: Vikings fans won by McCombs losing

With the new Vikings stadium more than 60 percent complete, Vikings fans can be thankful the process took so long and happened under the Wilf’s watch.

History is written by the winners.

That is fact that can’t be disputed. When you triumph, you concoct the script. As it pertains to the state-of-the-art Vikings stadium, history is likely going to forget its own stadium malaise over the past two decades.

However, if we hop into the Wayback Machine, the life of Vikings fans could be vastly different.

As a personal mea culpa, I have to come clean by saying I loved Red McCombs. I may be in the minority, as Vikings fans came to curse his frugality, but my bromance began in our first meeting. I introduced myself, called him “Mr. McCombs” and he responded, “Mr. McCombs was my daddy. You can call Red.”

I knew I was going to get along with him when “Red” was said in two syllables.

Every time he talked, it was syrupy and I couldn’t get enough. Even if I disagreed with the premise of his comment, he always gets a permanent pass with me. I can’t explain. I don’t attempt to justify it. As I’ve been told hundreds of times by players, “It is what it is.”

The question those who consider themselves to have a vested interest in the Vikings is this: Would the stadium currently under construction be anywhere near the palace that the Wilfs are bringing to Minnesota if McCombs still owned the team?

The short answer to that is “no.”

McCombs sold the Vikings to the Wilfs because he ran into a dead end when it came to getting state funding for a stadium. While he was willing to put up some of the money for a new stadium, there is no doubt that the facility that he envisioned where I-35W and I-35E converge north of the Twin Cities in Anoka County would have been nothing like the stadium that is rising from the ashes of the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis.

The Wilfs consistently added money to the cost of the stadium to assure that there isn’t any amenity that seems like it was done hastily or isn’t all that it could have been. Red would have been cutting corners and making sure the project came in under budget wherever possible.

It would simply be a matter of two competing visions of a stadium. Had McCombs been able to convince the State of Minnesota to kick in money for a new stadium, it would have been completed by now and likely would pale in comparison to the state-of-the-art facility that is more than 60 percent complete in the Downtown East area of Minneapolis.

There certainly would have been some additional development of the area around the stadium, but one can only imagine it would dwarf the development that is happening in the area around the new stadium. It likely would have been a cookie-cutter facility that looks like a lot of college stadiums that have been constructed over the last decade. It would have been an improvement to the Metrodome, but just about anything would be an upgrade to the dump that The Hump was on the Minneapolis landscape.

Sometimes good things come to those who wait. It took some strong-armed negotiating to get a stadium deal done. It took a lot of personal investment to assure that the new stadium the Vikings will move into next year is as opulent as they come.

If McCombs had been charged with building a new stadium? Let’s just say the level of Purple Pride likely wouldn’t have been close to what fans are going to witness a year from now.

History is written by the winners and, although it took some gnashing of teeth and veiled threats of relocation to get the Minnesota Legislature to pony up its share of the construction cost, Vikings fans are going to be glad that the revisionist historians won’t have to ponder what the House of McCombs would have looked like. We’ll never know and that’s probably a good thing.


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