Stadium Plan For Vikes Coming

In what may be viewed as pathetic as a stadium two-man luge competition, the Vikings have a stadium deal being run through the State Legislature.

As crazy as life can be sometimes, it's only when reality slaps you in the face that you understand a point being made.

So it is with the stadium saga being thrown out in Minnesota. With contraction in Major League Baseball finally being taken seriously, Minnesota is stepping up to keep the Twins. However, the same urgency isn't being afforded the Vikings -- who will remain in the NFL whether in Minnesota or not.

Thanks to court victories and alleged improprieties on the part of MLB Commish Bud Selig with Carl Pohlad -- owner of the Twins -- the future of baseball in Minnesota is now on the front burner of a short session Legislature, but quietly a Vikings-University of Minnesota stadium issue is being placed on the agenda.

While former wrestler-current Gov. Jesse Ventura is blaming everyone but his wife for the current budget shortfall in Minnesota, a push to get a stadium deal through for the Vikings and Gophers is underway.

Under the plan, Red McCombs would contribute $100 million, the NFL would contribute $50 million and the U of M would contribute $60 million for a proposed $500 million retractable roof stadium that would assure football in Minnesota for decades to come.

While opposition is assured, if the stadium deal can be tied into gambling -- whether a casino or a state lottery scratch game -- a deal should get done to keep the Vikes in Minnesota.

One caveat has been hitting VU, however. Once a new stadium is in the ground, the Vikings will be worth about $400 million -- a little less than twice the price McCombs paid for the team. At that point, offers will be taken for the team, but it won't be able to be moved. Just a thought to keep in mind before getting a McCombs jersey. Buy low. Sell high. Leave the heirs a ton o' money.

SATURDAY NOTES
* A Twin Cities newspapers -- guess which one? -- is throwing out the scenario that the Vikings will lose Robert Griffith, Kailee Wong, Bryon Chamberlain and Dale Carter simply because the team is close to signing Chris Liwienski. Remember that this is same paper that said the Vikes would trade Randy Moss to Denver, which needed help everywhere except wide receiver and running back heading into last year.
* Mike Morris is signed and sealed to return to the Vikes this season, but not as a player. He will be in charge of overseeing long-snapping as well as assisting in the team's strength and conditioning program.
* Three Jacksonville players -- Tony Boselli and defensive tackles Gary Walker and Seth Payne -- will be in Houston Monday for the expansion draft. That's a clear sign that they will be part of the Houston (and former Jags coach Dom Capers) plans. Those three alone will account for $17.3 million of the cap space needed by the Texans to complete their draft. VU is still hearing the only Viking -- if any -- to go will be Troy Walters, although the same peeps that say all the Vikes free agents are gone are saying Bob Tate and Brad Badger are in the radar scope.
* The NFL announced the 2002 salary cap has been reduced from a projected $71.8 million to $71.1 million -- which could have a huge impact on teams over the salary cap, like the Vikings. Effectively, it means one less veteran player being brought in per team.
* The ugly Tampa Bay saga gets more ridiculous by the day. First, GM Rick McKay, who is fed up, wants to talk to Atlanta. The Bucs' asking price? A first-round pick this year and a second-round pick next year. Likely to happen? Hell, no. Second, the Bucs want to talk to 49er coach Steve Mariucci, who has two years left on his deal. If McKay is a barometer, the Bucs will have to give up first-round picks to 2008 to get him. It just gets dumber by the day.
* Michael Boireau, who many think will never see an NFL playing field again, is confident he can come back from the rare eye disorder that made him an expensive draft-day mistake. He will be at mini-camp, but VU is hearing his playing days are already on tape.
* Linebacker Craig Sauer, who has the same foot affliction that ended the career of MLB's Mark McGwire is not as hopeful for his return. He is seen as dead in the water.

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