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Minnesota Vikings Stadium: They're Going To Screw This Up, Aren't They?

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Hey, you know how things happen that give us Minnesota sports fans even a glimmer of hope that things are going to start going our way, and then something comes along to punch us squarely in the face again?

Yeah. . .brace yourselves.

Gov. Mark Dayton expressed fresh misgivings about the proposed deal to put a Vikings stadium in Arden Hills, saying it was a good deal for the team but fails to live up to his visions for a "people's stadium."

"I could see why that would be appealing to the Vikings," Dayton said of the plan. "I don't know why Ramsey County agreed to it."

Among Dayton's concerns: The agreement cedes too much control and ongoing revenue to the team. In addition, he said, it still pins responsibility for road improvements entirely on the state.

Oh, no. . .they're asking the state to fix roads? How dare they!? The nerve of some people!

I'm not sure what Governor Dayton wants here, to be perfectly honest. . .up until right now, he has been firmly behind the Vikings as far as getting a stadium. He even said he would sign a Vikings' stadium bill before he signed off on an actual state budget. Now? Apparently asking the Vikings to pay for half of the cost of the entire project means that the state should still get the majority of control over the revenue that the stadium generates.

See, the Vikings have done this once before. Do you know how much the State of Minnesota donated to the construction of the Metrodome when it was being built? Not one damn penny. Yet over the span of its existence, it has generated $320 million in taxes for the state's General Fund. (Thanks to Cory Merrifield of SaveTheVikes.org for that tidbit.)

The Vikings currently have the worst stadium lease in the league, bar none. The Minneapolis Sports Facilities Commission has been robbing all of the Metrodome's tenants blind for years. I don't know if that's the sort of deal that Governor Dayton is hoping for, but that hardly seems fair. Then again, that's basically what the "proposal" (such as it was) from the City of Minneapolis amounted to, so maybe the big city types have gotten to him, too.

I just find it amazing that in the span of less than a week. . .not even seven full days. . .any excitement, enthusiasm, and momentum that the Arden Hills plan might have generated seems to have been utterly annihilated.

The Vikings are volunteering to pay nearly half of the cost of this stadium project, people. They've also agreed to cover any "overflow" costs that the project might generate as well. As much as I hate to raise the spectre/boogeyman of Los Angeles, if you look at their website for their potential new stadium, there's one tiny, minor little thing that an owner of a football team might find attractive.

100% privately financed - no public money

Yep. . .billionaire Ed Roski is going to put a stadium out in the Los Angeles area just as soon as a team is secured to play at that location (he said he's not breaking ground until that happens), and nobody is going to have to pay for it. He also, apparently, wants a 30% ownership in whatever team moves out there in exchange for footing the bill for the stadium. Quite frankly, if this stadium deal doesn't get done here shortly, I wouldn't be surprised to see Zygi Wilf just sell the whole team to Roski and get out of the game all together. If Zygi doesn't sell the team and tries to keep negotiating a stadium deal, you can bet that the percentage of the project that's going to come from the Vikings will decrease rather than increase, too.

Of course, if the Star-Tribune article is to be believed, it might not be all the state's fault, either.

Sen. Barb Goodwin, DFL-Columbia Heights, whose district includes Arden Hills, said she's troubled by the differing goals she's heard from Vikings lobbyists.

She said Friday that two months ago lobbyist Larry Redmond "told me that ... they really want it in Minneapolis."

She said that she told him, "Thank you for coming to tell me that, because now I know I'm not going to have this big hassle in my county."

When they pivoted to Ramsey, Goodwin said, Redmond denied telling her they wanted to be in Minneapolis. "I said, 'You most certainly did,'" she recalled. "I know exactly what he said."

No. . .no, no, no, no, no, no, damn it, no. They just had to keep flirting with the worn-out old cougar at the end of the bar when a perfectly nice, sweet young thing was begging them to go back to her place, didn't they?

I swear, these people could screw up a free lunch. All of them.

Who knows. . .maybe Mark Dayton wants to be known as the guy that let the Vikings get away. Maybe the current members of the Minnesota legislature have enough money stashed away where they don't need to be legislators any more after their current terms are up (because if they let the Vikings leave, they sure as hell wouldn't get a second term). But the potential for the Vikings leaving can only bring bad things, and absolutely nothing positive.

After all, if the Vikings leave, the state of Minnesota is still going to be in a metric assload of debt, and they won't have the revenues generated by the NFL. . .or the construction jobs for the stadium. . .or the jobs after the stadium has been completed. . .or anything else to help bail them out. But hey, they can use all that money they "saved" to upgrade the seats in the Guthrie Theater or childproof the streets of Minneapolis or whatever other cockamamie project they come up with that won't affect nearly the number of Minnesotans that the Minnesota Vikings do.

I don't know how many members of the Minnesota legislature read this site, or if Governor Dayton reads it, or if anybody with any sort of power and influence at the Capitol reads it. But if they do, let me summarize.

Stop screwing around, and get this done. Now. You don't want this team leaving this state on your watch.