State: No Go On Stadium In '08 Session

The Vikings have been shunned by the State of Minnesota for several years in an effort to build a new stadium. Monday, Gov. Tim Pawlenty and other state leaders let the NFL know that a stadium plan won't even be seriously discussed this year in the legislative session.

Zygi Wilf has promised that he won't move the Vikings out of Minnesota, but state leaders have done nothing to date to help him or the organization out. While stadiums were able to get done for the Twins and the Gophers, the Vikings were put on the back burner and it doesn't look like anything is going to happen in the 2008 Legislative session – even before it has begun.

Saying "we've got other priorities now," Gov. Tim Pawlenty and other state leaders let the NFL know that the Vikings stadium proposal won't get funding during this session because of state budget shortfalls that have the state with a projected deficit of $373 million by mid-2009.

With a proposed $950 million stadium, the Vikings have committed $250 million toward the project, but it estimated that the public funding for the stadium would be approximately $700 million – a hard sell during good times, much less a time of budget cuts and deficits.

By saying that no deal will even be heard in 2008, the state has opened the possibility for the Vikings to relocate – even though Wilf has promised they will stay. In general terms, it has been believed that if the Vikings were to play through their lease at the Metrodome (through 2011), a stadium would have to begin construction in 2008 in order to open in 2012. By rejecting any offer for this year, it has become clear that any stadium that might be in the offing won't open its doors until 2013 at the earliest.

For Vikings fans, this is a sad day, because it is making it much easier for those cities looking for an NFL franchise the back up the truck and make the Wilfs a sweetheart offer that could eventually leave the Vikings somewhere else and a bunch of short-sighted legislators holding the bag.

* There has been a growing amount of talk that the Vikings might be a team that gets shifted into prime time for NBC's flex schedule for Sunday Night Football. The Vikings play the Redskins in Week 16 and the Broncos in Week 17 and one or both of those games could have playoff implications. As of now, the game for Week 16 is the Buccaneers vs. the 49ers and Week 17 is a dismal affair between the 4-8 Chiefs and the 3-9 Jets. The announcement for shifting games needs to be done 12 days in advance of the game so teams know in advance and can change their schedules accordingly. For Week 17, an announcement needs to be made the Monday before the final game. With Adrian Peterson providing the marquee value and the Vikings as one of the hottest teams in the league, don't be stunned to see them at least being discussed about being the game moved to the Sunday night slot.
* If the Vikings win out, the only thing that could keep them from winning a wild card spot is if the Lions also ran the table. Even under that scenario, if the Giants went 2-2 in the final four games, they could catch them due to their win two weeks ago. If both the Vikings and Cardinals run the table, the Vikings would make the playoffs due to a common opponents record of 4-1.
* Two of the teams in the playoff hunt with the Vikings may be without their top receivers. The Lions might be without Roy Williams for the rest of the season with a torn PCL sustained against the Vikings Sunday and the Cardinals might be without both Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald missed Sunday's game with a hamstring injury and Boldin suffered a toe injury against the Browns.
* Two of the other teams trying to chase down the Vikings will meet this Thursday. The Bears and Redskins meet and, considering that the Redskins sent the entire team to the funeral of Sean Taylor Monday, it's hard to imagine they will be ready physically or emotionally for Thursday's game.

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