Vikings Use Timing to Get Stadium Plan Out

With a sudden panic over Minnesota Twins contractions, the Vikings are moving while the iron is hot -- getting their own plans to the state for a new stadium.

There is no questions that the Vikings are more popular than the Minnesota Twins. For years, the Vikings have been selling out the Metrodome, while the Twins struggled to put 10,000 fans a game in the seats prior to last year's playoff chase.

During that same period, talk of getting funding help for a stadium fell on deaf ears. That was until contraction became a possibility and the elimination of the Twins got legislators and even world traveller Pope Jesse off their hands and moving to save the team.

With the recent surge in interest, the Vikings have made their move. Today a Vikings contingent will meet with the Stadium Task Force at the state capitol to try to get their own plan for a stadium out. The meeting will take place at 1 p.m. today and will include several items, including the need to build a stadium, the value of the Vikings to Minnesota, the economics of the NFL and the recent trend in new stadium construction in smaller markets, a potential combined stadium effort for the Vikings and University of Minnesota Gophers and a plan to finance a stadium without the average taxpayer seeing a tax increase.

To date, there has been no discussion of a stadium for both the Twins and Vikings, although one makes sense, since there are few scheduling conflicts and it would be in the interests of both teams to get a stadium deal done, and two stadiums just doesn't sound financially feasible.

While more cities are going to single-use stadiums, getting a state-of-the-art facility for both teams that would allow them to both increase their own revenue streams while getting rid of idiotic payments, like the one to Mike Lynn for his luxury box pimp fee, could help both teams and assure both remain in Minnesota.

Will the meeting do any good? Who knows. We're entering an election year and politicians are like snakes in that regard. But, the timing is good for the Vikings to get the attention of state decision-makers and at least get their plans out to the public.

* As reported earlier this week, the Vikings put DL Willie Howard on injured reserve and signed punter Lee Johnson. If Johnson plays Sunday, he and Gary Anderson will become the oldest punter/kicker tandem in league history at 82 years old -- Johnson is 40 and Anderson is 42.
* Randy Moss was fined $15,000 by the team for verbally berating some corporate sponsors after the loss in Philadelphia. As part of league policy, the team allows corporate sponsors to have some representatives attend road games and travel with the team. Apparently, Moss demanded some sponsors get out of the bus seat he wanted. The team felt it wasn't politically correct to snap at one of the hands that feeds, and Moss was slapped with a $15,000 fine. It looks like the NFL isn't the only one capable of fining Moss.
* Jim Kleinsasser took part in practice Wednesday and is expected to play Sunday.
* Thanks for the memory, Todd Bouman. Daunte Culpepper took a larger role in practice Wednesday and is expected to be announced as the starter Sunday, perhaps as early as today.
* Unfortunately, Chris Hovan may not be so lucky. He's making improvement from an injured ankle, but is still a question mark for Sunday. If he can't start, Stalin Colinet will replace him in the starting lineup.
* In the "let's get the lawsuit started" department comes this: columnist Jim Caple is a real cut-up, but his execution may not have the desired results. In what was intended as a humor piece on the ESPN website, Caple wrote a story called "Ask Randy Moss." In the piece, he concocts questions from children and adults that are "answered" by Moss. While obvious to most that the answers are made up and the piece is parody, ESPN TV, the magazine and the internet dot-com pages typically employ current and former athletes to answer fan questions and by using a column to portray fake answers to fake questions in a format similar to legitimate pieces that run regularly in the network, it could give the impression to some that Moss is actually answering the questions. However, Caple should have done a little homework of his own or at least run the story by somebody who knows anything about the Vikings. When asked by a child wanting to attend a game what games Moss puts out his best effort in, the answer included "don't even think of going to a game that is blacked out." Apparently Mr. Caple is unaware that the Vikings haven't been blacked out locally since Moss arrived to the team. Hopefully, Moss' attorneys will give Caple or ESPN a call. Hey, with $75 mil to spend, he can afford a frivilous lawsuit or two to challenge first amendment rights.

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