A few years ago, Anoka County and the city of Blaine were getting into serious negotiations with the Vikings about putting a new stadium out there. Although it seemed like a serious plan, it never really amounted to anything more than a smokescreen by the Vikings to try and generate interest from Minneapolis to put a new stadium on the Metrodome site. Anoka County, if you'll remember, got pretty pissed off when they realized that they had pretty much been used, and broke off negotiations with the Vikings. Not too long after that, Minneapolis/Hennepin County said they weren't going to impose another sales tax to fund a Vikings stadium, because the one for the Twins stadium had been a brutal fight, and there was not enough politcal will to do that again.
The Vikings had nothing, except an aging dome and an expiring lease.
Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago. The Vikings are now looking at the old ammo plant in Arden Hills, and the preliminary talks with Ramsey County officials has been very promising. They are exploring ways to generate the money needed, and one of the things they are looking at was a sales tax similar to what Hennepin County levied to fund Target Field.
Well, Minneapolis just can't leave well enough alone.
Minneapolis mayor RT Rybak put Minneapolis back in the middle of the stadium talks, saying he favors a new stadium being built on the Metrodome site. Well, good for you Mr. Mayor, but one question:
Where, exactly, in the hell were you last year?
Look, I know politics is as much about timing and opportunity as it is about anything else, but if I could use the words of my esteemed Dad whenever I had a pretty big decision in my life I had to make:
S**t or get off the pot, son.
Either Minneapolis is a serious partner, or they're not. The Vikings (read: Zygi WIlf) have always wanted a new stadium downtown, but at this point I think they'll take the most serious offer. And right now, that seems to be Arden Hills. Granted, no one has put a financial plan together, so whoever is the most serious still remains to be seen.
The Vikings said they had 'a good discussion' with Minneapolis officials, but obviously, nothing has been finalized.
But I think the Arden Hills site might be beneficial for a couple of reasons.
1) The current location downtown is just a crappy place to try and find a good tailgate spot.
2) I really would like to see a Minnesota Sports and/or Vikings Hall of Fame built, and I think it would be cool if it could be adjacent to the stadium, but not within a new one.
Arden Hills provides the opportunity for the stadium to be done right in those two regards, in my opinion, and that's why I'm on board for that location.
I also think, logistically speaking, that Arden Hills would be better while the stadium is being built, as the Vikings could still utilize the Metrodome while their new place is being built, and theere wouldn't be the hassle of having to play in TCF Bank Stadium.
Now, if it turns out that Minneapolis is the final option and that's where they build it, hey cool, just as long as the Vikes stay in Minnesota.
Finally, and this was buried halfway down in the story, I saw the most promising quote yet on the fate of a new stadium. Ted Mondale, the point man for Gov. Dayton and the head of the Minneapolis Sports Facilities Commission, believes that in his talks with state politicians, they'll get something done:
"There's a feeling that before they go home, before they close up the budget, they will deal with the stadium issue."
I'm feeling better and better about this, but it ain't over until it's over.