Los Angeles- the one city in North America NOT first discovered by the Vikings.
Sup y’all, doc sunshine here. So, some of you may have noticed, I have been relatively quiet and low-key when it comes to the current stadium… shall we say, curfuffle?
See, I was born in Florida, and while I have done my fair share of traveling (quite a bit, actually) in my time, I have legally remained a resident of Florida throughout my life. I also don’t foresee that changing anytime soon, and if it did, there’s no particular reason I would point at Minnesota as my destination. Not saying anything bad about the state at all- just saying, there’s really no actual connection, outside of the Minnesota Vikings, between it and me.
Considering that I have no real ties with the state outside of its resident NFL team, I have felt that I am not qualified to jump in on this debate, on either side. Full disclosure- yes, I do support a new stadium, yes, I believe the bill for the Arden Hills site is the best one, and yes, I do want the Vikings to remain the Minnesota Vikings.
However, the half-cent tax and other such things are not coming my way, ergo, I feel as if I don’t have the right to talk about the situation in great detail or length. It’s kinda like how I can beat up my little brother, but you can’t*. I’m in the situation right now where I feel as if supporting the half-cent tax increase and whatnot would be akin to me beating up your little brother- he may be really annoying and totally asking for it, but it’s not cool, and it’s not really my right.
But, seeing as how we are at pretty much zero hour here and everything, and with the news breaking of some Minnesota lawmaker types wanting a referendum (which would, ya know, take place after the Vike’s lease expires…), I’ve unfortunately got a very, very dark feeling that the possibility of the Vikings no longer being the Minnesota Vikings is a very, very real one. And, as an out-of-state fan, a fan with, again, no connection to the state Viking-aside whatsoever, I feel I represent an almost ‘silent’ group here, a group that may well be in the actual majority of the fanbase.
Continue with me after the leap of faith as I go ahead and use my mighty powers as a Daily Norseman contributor to give loud voice to these masses. (Minnesota residents, you are also welcome to join us… I suppose.)
*I actually am the little brother… dammit.
So, seeing as the dark, ominous clouds that herald the end of the Vikings’ tenure in the state of Minnesota are looking all the more real… and all the more close… I have found myself often asking the question: would I still root for the Vikings if they left the state of Minnesota?
Bizarre as it may be… I think the answer may, just may… be no. Now, I’ll be honest, I’m not really sure. I came really damn close to jumping overboard from the longship when Randy Moss was released and Brad Childress was allowed to stay last season. It felt to me the end of the line with what the Vikings have put me through, and I was certain I had just had enough. Well- that lasted all of a day, and I was begging for one of those floaty-donut things to be thrown over so I could be pulled right back into the longship. Could well be the same thing if this happens: I might throw my hands up in the air in disgust, and figure out who I’ll root for for the next 13 years of my life, and one day later be placing an order for some >insert location name here< Vikings gear online. Heck if I know, but I do know I don’t want to find out.
"But, Kyle", you ask inquisitively, "you just started out by explaining in great detail how you really have no connection to Minnesota save for the Vikings." Yes, this is true. But, you see, there are certain… how shall I put this, aspects of a team that exist largely thanks to the location. For example, maybe the L.A. Vikings will stay in the NFC North. It would seem odd, but then again, the NFL does not always pay a ton of attention to actual cardinal directions when it comes to division make-up. But maybe they don’t- maybe things get shuffled around some, and BAM! We’re out of the NFC North. Farewell to the storied rivalry with the Packers. Farewell to the semi-storied rivalry with the Bears. Farewell to the… well, sharing the division with the Lions.
That will, in a huge way, take a big part of who the Vikings are away from me. Can I possibly get as hyped for a ‘Vikings v. Raiders- 49er’s- Chargers- Seahawks (actually, there’s a halfway decent start there…)’ rivalry matchup as I do for a Vikings v. Packers showdown? …No, there’s simply no way. Not for quite a long time, anyways.
And the general sense of ‘culture’ that a team creates- not by existing in a spot alone, but by existing there for a generation, for the sense of a family tradition of fandom being passed down, for the fans who can say they were there, game 1, the upset win against the Bears. Maybe I really don’t have a part, per se, in that culture- but something about it just feels right. It’s something I see in Miami Dolphins fans… and something I see missing for the Jacksonville Jaguar fan. (His name is Bob. Quite a nice guy, actually.) And while I don’t have an actual part of that, I will feel something is intrinsically missing from my favorite team if that essence fades.
Like I said… I don’t know. Perhaps it’s all a lot of big talk from me, and I will, in fact, follow the Vikings to wherever they end up should the worst happen. I can say one thing for sure though- I’ll never, ever blame the Wilfs, Zygi in particular, for that: the man has genuinely, to me, been as patient as humanely possible. But he’s a businessman at the end of the day, and playing chicken with a successful businessman (like the state of Minnesota seems intent on doing) rarely ends well. If he sells the team, I hope it’s to someone good: if we’re bought by some Dan Snyder type, I downright guarantee I’m burying my Viking fandom with sorrowful heart and warm memories.
To another bit of a side-note here, speaking for the masses who live, and may have always lived, outside of Minnesota: I’d love to somehow support this new stadium, and the Arden Hills site in particular. I’ve followed the Vikings’ actual advice and joined Minnesota Momentum… but I wonder what that actually does, how much it actually helps. If anyone out there knows a way I can concretely support the Vikings remaining in place, please let me know. Heck, I’ll happily get a story out there about it, with due credit going where credit’s due. And please don’t bother replying some smart aleck reply like "you can donate 100 million dollars!". Actual ideas only, por favor. (That’s Spanish for ‘I’ll hide your comment otherwise’.)
I’ve got one final thought here to end this piece. ‘Cuz, ya know, seeing as how I have no real connection to Minnesota outside of the Vikings… well, sans Vikes, I guess that state is as likely to see any of my money as I am likely to see my footsteps on Mars. I mean, I really wanted to go to Training Camp this year. I couldn’t… but if I could have swung it, if familial responsibilities had not presented conflicts, you bet I would have been there. And you know what would have happened?
I just might have eaten something. I tend to do that from time to time. Sometimes, twice, or even three times in a day. I won’t lie, there have been days it’s been more than three times. And I’m taking a random guess that being in the state of Minnesota, it would probably have been food procured in the state of Minnesota. Again- this is all conjecture.
But I can guarantee that with no Vikings in the state of Minnesota, that’s one state that is unlikely to have me ever eating there. And while one man’s lunch money may not exactly balance a budget or anything… well, there’s a lot of us out there, us non-Minnesotan Minnesota Viking fans, who, without the Vikings, are likely to never go and spend our money in that state. And lunch money adds up… just ask the bully that was busy beating up all the little brothers out there. (Dammit.)
Food for thought, Minnesota. Ball’s in your court.