Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Vikings Might Be On Way Out

I don't think I have to remind anyone around here of my Packers fandom. I'm almost insane at times. But there are times for poking fun at rivals, and there are times for supporting them. This is a time to reach out and support a rival. The Vikings stadium situation absolutely sucks. As I noted Tuesday, the Vikings have been saying all the right things throughout this process, not dropping threats and not making it sound like the organization will move on at any point. Now, the words have gotten tougher.

Vikings vice president Lester Bagley said waiting until next year is "not an option." Bagley stopped short of threatening that the Vikings would leave Minnesota, but he said the issue must be settled in 2012. Team officials have called the Metrodome outdated and no longer profitable enough for the Vikings.

"There's no next year," Bagley said. "Our state leaders know that if we want an NFL team in this market we have to resolve this stadium issue."

The Vikings have no option but to play in the Metrodome in the 2012 season, but the team's lease in the 30-year-old facility is expired and officials have said they don't plan to renew it.

It's about time. Personally, I think the Vikings should have used the "or else" card, making it known they are willing to leave, instead of just implying it.

Despite the fact that multiple Republicans and Democrats voted against the stadium bill, House Speaker Kurt Zellers -- a Republican -- SHOCKINGLY blames this all on the DFL.

Zellers put the blame on Democrats for the setback in the House. Of the six "yes" votes, only one was a Democrat. During a four-hour hearing prior to the vote, House members raised concerns that the stadium proposal was a bad deal for taxpayers and an indefensible use of public money when the state is just starting to recover from years of budget problems.

"Now it's probably up to the governor and the Democrat leader in the House to decide if they want to go forward," Zellers said. "It was very clear last night they weren't interested in passing the bill out of committee."

Shut up.

Gov. Mark Dayton -- a Democrat -- is mad at people, even some in his own party.

Dayton said he had contact with two DFLers on the 15-member House Government Operations and Elections before Monday's meeting, and indicated that one DFLer promised to vote for the stadium but did not and that the other legislator never returned his phone call. He did not identify the two DFLers.

"I talked to one of them. He said he was going to be helpful, and wasn't," Dayton said.

Dayton might not be the best governor this state's ever had, but he's at least tried to step forward and make something happen. The problem here is Dayton can't do it himself. He's relying on people in both houses of the Legislature who are more worried about their own re-election bids than they are about being leaders and getting anything of note done. By not acting on this stadium situation -- putting it off instead of voting it completely down -- these political hacks are hoping to send a message to their constituents that they're trying to do their due diligence.

Reality is that they're afraid to make a decision because they know deciding either way will have an impact on their campaigns. It's easier to hem and haw and not say anything than it is to have the courage to take a stand and live with your decision, apparently.

Instead of voting these spineless, self-centered, worthless people out of office, the voters of the state will choose to re-elect them, buying into their bushels full of garbage about how the state is better off with them in office.

The Vikings have been waiting -- patiently, to be fair -- since 2006. They've watched the University of Minnesota and the Twins get shiny new facilities, while constantly being told to wait, and their turn will come. The Vikings are tired of waiting.

Frankly, who can blame them?

It's a reality that this team could be facing its final season in Minnesota. There are two weeks left in the legislative session. There is no indication from anyone that a special session could be in the cards should this not get done by the end of the month. There is also no indication from anyone in charge that a better day is on the horizon.

Losing this team would be a huge tragedy for its fans, the state as a whole, and also for fans of the Packers. What the hell fun would the NFC North be without the Vikings? Might it give the Packers a new division rival (no way a relocated Vikings team stays in the NFC North)? Who cares?

The Vikings-Packers rivalry is one of the best in the NFL. It's (for the most part) closely-contested, with legendary performances over the years from guys like Favre, Moss, Cunningham, Freeman, Sharper, Longwell, Rodgers, Peterson, and Ponder. Some of them have had legendary performances on both sides of the rivalry. Losing that would be a loss for Packers fans, as well as the people of Minnesota.

It's too bad the politicians charged with making decisions feel they have more important things to do than their jobs.

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