Here's a shocker: The Vikings stadium bill -- which looked dead in the water before Friday -- now appears to have an "air of inevitability," just days after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell showed up in Minnesota for half a day and scared the hell out of the politicos. Listen, you know where I stand on this. Couldn't be more clear. And I agree with Sen. Richard Cohen, a DFLer out of St. Paul, who said Tuesday that this charade makes lawmakers look like "a total gang of idiots."
I'd disagree in a sense, though, because the lawmakers looked like buffoons long before Goodell and Steelers owner Art Rooney arrived at the airport Friday.
If the league commissioner has to take half a day to fly to Minnesota and teach lawmakers about the economic impact of an NFL franchise on a region, and make it abundantly clear that even if the league were to ever bring a different team to Minnesota, it would 1) be a long time, and 2) be a hell of a lot more expensive, then the problem here lies with the lawmakers.
Just remember that come November, whether this thing ends up getting done this week or not. Your favorite football team has been left to twist in the wind since the money for TCF Bank Stadium and Target Field was allocated in 2006. You know, six years ago. The blame doesn't fall on your favorite football team. It falls on the people you can help elect or not elect.
Do your research on your local lawmakers' stances on this issue, and make your voice heard. It's the only recourse you have.
The NFL Draft is Thursday. I don't do mock drafts anymore, largely because it's fruitless, and largely because hockey duties take away from my note-taking time. The scouts love them some Luck and RGIII, which is fine, but I'm a bit concerned that the depth behind these two is lackluster at best. Of course, in most years that I have this reaction, things turn out just fine.
I think Minnesota will draft Matt Kalil, despite the increased steam surrounding the likes of LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne. I'm not saying Claiborne is a bad pick, nor am I going back on what I said before regarding wide receiver Justin Blackmon, a guy I was trumpeting for the Vikings once it became clear they would be picking early in the draft (you know, around Week 2).
Despite a pretty blatant smokescreen thrown up by GM Rick Spielman, I don't think the Vikings are a serious candidate to trade this pick. No one else wants/needs Kalil enough to move up, and if the Vikes decide to draft Claiborne, there are other cornerbacks -- hi, Stephon Gilmore of South Carolina! -- on the board who justify first-round selections.
I'm a fan of Gilmore. He probably looks better on tape than Claiborne, though it's close. I think he'd be a good pick for someone in the middle of the round, and it certainly lowers the value of Claiborne a bit. Kalil, however, is easily the best tackle in the draft, something that should give the Vikings even more reason to pull the trigger on that pick.