Our view: This is no way to save an NFL teamMinnesota lawmakers just don’t seem interested.
Minnesota lawmakers just don’t seem interested.
Haven’t for at least 10 years, which is about how long the Minnesota Vikings have been reminding them that hey, our Metrodome lease is about up, the stadium is a money-sucking loser, and we’re eager and interested in finding a public-private partnership to get a new stadium built.
Yeah, yeah, lawmakers said, year after year, come back; we’re taking care of the Twins stadium. And the Gophers stadium. And now the economy is horrible. And, what, this year? But it’s an election year. Do we gotta do it this year?
Yes, this was to be the session. Everyone was buzzing about it. But then the Vikings did the classy thing and didn’t threaten to leave Minnesota if a deal didn’t get done. Team owners didn’t say they wouldn’t sell their money pit of a team, either, but it seemed clear to most lawmakers: The Purple
wasn’t going anywhere. We can set them aside. Again.
That tune changed when the NFL commissioner made an unprecedented, message-sending trip to the Land of 10,000 Procrastinations and Excuses. Roger Goodell himself showed up. And suddenly the Capitol buzzed again with Vikings talk and stadium deals and guys in purple face paint and Christian Ponder jerseys. The House even passed a stadium bill with the Senate debating the issue late yesterday.
So rah-rah, right? Lawmakers, this time, finally, are definitely interested in making the investment to keep the Vikings, a team that gives the state national prominence and economic impact and whose roots are planted in Duluth. One of the Vikings’ first owners was Ole Haugsrud, the former owner of the Duluth Eskimos, a 1920s NFL team.
But are lawmakers really interested? Sure doesn’t seem so. How many pet projects — sorry, “amendments” — did lawmakers attach and attempt to attach to stadium dealings, making political mockery and distracting attention from actually getting something done? And what was with the 11th-hour, deal-breaker attempt to suck an additional $100 million out of the team? Talk about your purely political ploy. Hey, we passed a stadium bill, lawmakers could now say should the whole thing fall apart and the Vikes wind up in L.A. (alongside the former Minneapolis Lakers). “We did all we could!”
Puh-leeze. Be serious. Short of that, be interested — really interested — in keeping the Vikings in Minnesota where they belong with a deal that works for Minnesotans.