Stadium Deal At Flash Point

The Northern Lights complex, which would be a $1 billion complex that would include a Vikings stadium, has been losing steam for the last couple of months. The Vikings now have explored options in Minneapolis, which might take the Anoka County option off the table.

The Vikings are expected to be a front-burner issue when the State Legislature convenes in January. But, the question isn't how something is going to be done but where?

With the approval of a $150,000 feasibility study in Minneapolis near the current Metrodome site, the Vikings have upset officials in Anoka County that have held fast to the belief that the Vikings would build a new stadium in the northern suburbs of the Twin Cities.

The Vikings' stadium bid in Anoka County has been tenuous for months. Between the Northern Lights complex being a political hot potato to the Army Corps of Engineers rearing its ugly (and unwanted) head to landowners seeking more money for their unused land to land lease agreements set to expire, the Anoka County plan has been viewed by some as a lost cause. While something may end up happening there, it's looking more unlikely that Anoka County will continue to be a viable player in the stadium debate. According to sources with intimate knowledge of the situation, Anoka County will need to make a pledge to continue with a stadium effort by year's end to remain a player in the stadium sweepstakes.

Thursday's decision to explore a downtown option was cited by one significant Anoka County official as a "violation of trust."

If a legislative funding option is to be approved this year – a must if the Vikings are to stay in Minnesota – it will need to be firmed up with more than a couple of potential sites. With the Twins – who, by the way, voted to commit franchise suicide before the state politicos stepped in to save them – and the University of Minnesota having stadium deals done, the Vikings are left without fellow tenants in the dump we've come to know as the Metrodome. If a Vikings stadium is to get done, it will likely have to come this year. If not, it will probably become a ballot question in 2008 – a presidential election year – and will likely have no chance of passing.

There is still time to get a resolution to the Vikings stadium issue. If not, the league's desire for a Los Angeles franchise remains even though Vikings owner Zygi Wilf restated his pledge to Minnesota.

* Napoleon Harris, Marcus Robinson and Fred Smoot all remain listed as questionable on the team's injury report. However, all are expected to play Sunday.
* Dolphins QB Joey Harrington is 0-6 all-time against the Vikings.
* The Vikings defense leads the NFL in three-and-out drives. One in every three opponent possessions has resulted in their offense leaving without gaining a first down.
* Jeff Dugan, who has been inactive in 23 of the last 25 games, is slated to replace Tony Richardson at fullback. Jim Kleinsasser, who played fullback for both Dennis Green and Mike Tice, has not be factored in as a fullback candidate for Brad Childress.
* After a lot of speculation about offensive line changes this week, as of Friday no changes in the starting lineup were made.
* For the 11th straight week – an NFL record – every game has been sold out.

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