Not with a bang, but with a whimper.
At least, that's what it's looking like in terms of getting a stadium this legislative session. With fuzzy funding for both Minneapolis (electronic pull tab revenue stream is anywhere from $20-55 million short of original projections) and Ramsey County (Vikings have rejected the latest installment of the Arden Hills revenue plan, leaving it in doubt) not adding up, along with no definitive site on where a stadium will be built in Minneapolis, hope is quickly fading on getting a Vikings stadium bill passed this legislative session.
The Vikings need to notify the NFL by Wednesday if they intend to move, but they have yet to say that they will. Why? Because, at least on the surface, they have nowhere to move to.
So if they have nowhere to move to but no lease, what happens? It would seem, at least for 2012...nothing. But after that, who knows?
And with 2012 being an election year, the feeling at the Capitol is that legislators want to push this to the back burner and concentrate on tough re-elections in newly drawn districts, and worry about this next year. I guess it's easier to run on a platform of "I didn't do squat" than having to answer on a vote for a Vikes stadium, regardless of where you stand on the issue.
There's some political courage for you. I bet no one saw THAT coming.
But a lot can happen between now and next year. And the only one that we really care about, a new stadium, seems to be the one that has the smallest chance of happening, at least as of today.
Let's break it down, after the jump.
Governor Dayton even seems to be resigned to the fact that nothing will get done this session:
"If we don't get it this year, and I hope and believe we will, we'll get it next legislative session."
Wow, way to get out there and be forceful, Governor. So where do we sit, as of today, in terms of relocation?
It's remote, at least in the short term. I'll be stunned if they announce on Wednesday their intent to move to another city for the 2012 season. The most logical choice, Los Angeles, has a stadium situation almost as murky as Minnesota's right now, and no other city has been mentioned as a possible new location. So they're safe, I would think, for at least one more year.
If no stadium deal gets done, I think what happens is this: the Vikings sign a one year lease to play in the Metrodome, and owner Zygi Wilf does a couple things: He'll keep working with Minnesota officials to get a stadium deal done and push for a special session. And to create a sense of urgency that seemed to vanish when it became known that there was virtually no chance the Vikings will move before the 2012 season, he'll start looking for a new city, or he'll announce that he's putting the team up for sale, and start entertaining offers from different ownership groups.
It sucks, but that's where we are. Ramsey County was derailed by the political power players advocating for Minneapolis, but those same Minneapolis advocates were so unprepared to submit a serious offer, that as of today there is no financing plan finalized, no site finalized, and no assurance a bill could pass through the legislature even if those two key items were answered today.
Pathetic. Simply pathetic.
For me, Ramsey County commissioner Tony Bennett summed it up best:
"If they (the legislature) don't want to do it (pass a stadium bill), why don't they say so and just set it aside and face the wrath of the people?"
That would seem to be the $64,000 question at the moment.