Wait 'Til Next Year

Minnesota is likely to keep the Twins thanks to a stadium deal and has no choice but to build a stadium for the University of Minnesota. But the Vikings' deal, for this year anyway, appears dead on arrival. Yet, that may be the best thing for the Vikings in the big picture of things.

The Vikings' stadium deal, which was arguably tacked on to a Twins baseball stadium deal for no other reason than partisan politics, is dead in the water. Sounds like bad news. But, in reality, it may end up as positive news for Vikings fans.

The excitement raised by the potential of a Vikings stadium deal jumping to the front of the line in the begrudging acceptance of Minnesota legislators has been dashed. As has been written here numerous times in the past, it takes the potential of a franchise leaving before state politicos get off their duffs to stand up and be counted. Fortunately for the career politicians that don't want to make waves in an election year, the Vikings stadium has been effectively pushed another year out.

On its own, the Vikings stadium deal has a good chance of getting public acceptance. Zygi Wilf has never said he would take the Vikings out of Minnesota – despite lucrative offers available in Los Angeles. By contrast, Twins owner Carl Pohlad was willing to contract his own team from Major League Baseball. You can draw your own conclusions from that act. Yet, it got a decade of inaction moving in both state and local government to "save" the Twins franchise.

As it stands now, it appears that a Twins stadium deal is close to being finalized and a University of Minnesota stadium deal has a better-than-average shot of being done as well. So where does that leave the Vikings? A year away from convincing legislators of the obvious – if any professional franchise should happen to leave Minnesota, it shouldn't be the Vikings.

Many supporters of the Vikings stadium deal agreed with the recent decision to separate the stadium issues – much less the millions in "transit funding" that would have been included in any legislation that would have addressed an Anoka County stadium plan. The governor wouldn't sign it. A referendum likely wouldn't have passed. Sooner than later, we would have to accept that the Los Angeles Vikings would be playing within miles of the Lakers – another Minnesota export.

A one-year delay on getting a Vikings deal done is not something that should be construed as positive. It's not. But with the Twins and most likely the University of Minnesota out of the way, the Vikings stadium plan – which would guarantee $1 billion in private investment in an area devoid of working monetary capital – would have a better chance of passing in a non-election year. Nobody ever said politics makes sense. But, when faced with the reality of turning one's back on one of America's greatest cash cows, common sense will get a chance to be heard.

* Brad Childress will be reunited with another of his former charges, thanks to a trade struck Thursday. The Vikings sent undrafted free agent rookie Hank Baskett to the Eagles in exchange for third-year wide receiver Billy McMullen. McMullen never found a place in the Eagles offense, but he is familiar with the terminology with the offensive system Childress is going to incorporate with the Vikings. Barring injury, expect to see McMullen make the final 53-man roster.
*The Vikings released defensive back Laroni Gallishaw Thursday.
* The Rams are looking to add a veteran defensive lineman to their roster and one of the names being tossed out is former Viking Jason Fisk. While Rams head coach Scott Linehan has no first-hand knowledge of Fisk, VU has been told that he has been given solid recommendations by former Vikings personnel.

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