McCombs Calls Off Stadium Effort

In a disheartening turn, the effort for the Vikings to get the Minnesota Legislature to approve a stadium bill has been scrapped -- leaving the options for getting a stadium deal done to a new potential ownership group.

For the last several years, Red McCombs has complained that the Metrodome is not a professional facility. An outdated, cheaply built dump of a stadium, the Metrodome is arguably the worst stadium in the NFL. And, while many don't believe the public should help pay for a new stadium, the myopic views of key legislators more concerned with keeping their own cushy jobs than saving football in Minnesota continues to rule the day.

McCombs announced Friday that the team is scrapping its plans to continue a lobbying effort with the Legislature, saving about $500,000 in 2005 and sending the clear message that, if the state won't cooperate, McCombs will look at other avenues -- whether it be a sale or outright relocation.

It's been a difficult time for McCombs, who has seen the Twins stadium effort move ahead of the Vikings. The ironic thing is that the Twins stadium push came only after the Twins were announced as one of two teams the league planned to contract (eliminate). The pathetic aspect of that is that Twins owner Carl Pohlad, who is as rich or richer than McCombs, voted to eliminate his own team and take a big cash settlement -- a lot of loyalty there, wouldn't you say?

While the possibility exists that the Vikings will continue to try to get a stadium deal completed, the effort is going to go in a different direction.

As expected, when asked for a comment, Senate Majority Dean Johnson -- who loves to see his name quoted in Twin Cities newspaper whether what he says is idiotic or not -- was at it again. He reaffirmed his opposition, reminding everyone who still listens that McCombs is a billionaire and the players are millionaires. Apparently he doesn't have that same moral objection when the Legislature passes a pork barrel project for his district or those of his political allies.

The truth is that the tax money generated by players salaries would more than pay for the state's share of a new stadium, much less the property taxes a stadium would generate and the revenue that would come from everything from ticket sales to parking revenue.

Maybe the people in Willmar, who Johnson represents, agree with him. But many more don't and consider his short-sighted comments to be hurtful and likely the cause of the team's increasing commitment to sell and/or relocate.

Los Angeles already has the Lakers. How does the L.A. Vikings sound to you? It doesn't sound too good from here. If the Vikings do leave, thank Johnson for his role that sped up the process.

SATURDAY NOTES
* On the NFL's official website, eight of their analysts were asked who is the best QB-WR combination in the league. Of the eight, five said Daunte Culpepper and Randy Moss, with former players Phil Simms saying, "It took me one second to come up with the answer" and Shannon Sharpe saying his decision was a "no-brainer."
* ESPN is reporting that Moe Williams will sit out Monday's game with the Eagles. The Vikings still have listed as questionable on the team's injury report.
* Kelly Campbell was fined $5,000 for his touchdown celebration last Sunday. The fine likely pales by comparison to the chewing he got from coach Mike Tice after the team was penalized 15 yards for the unsportsmanlike conduct.

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