The Minnesota Vikings have been trying to get a new stadium built for years. The current stadium, Mall of America Field at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, is one of the oldest venues in the NFL. Two years ago, the entire roof collapsed from heavy snow, spilling tons of the white stuff down on the field and causing millions in damage.
While the roof is fixed, the fact remains that the Metrodome is a terrible place to watch football. I am 6'2", and have been to several Vikings games. I have been uncomfortable at every one. Even the higher-priced seats are cramped. Besides taking over 30 minutes to get in and get to your seats, there is no legroom, cup holders, or even a real jumbotron screen.
They still have the two smaller screens on opposite sides of the venue for replays. Most fans just use their phones because it is tough to see anything in the stadium.
On Tuesday, the most recent plan for a new stadium was nixed. Governor Mark Dayton is pleading his case, telling Minnesotans that the deal isn't dead yet.
He had better hope it's not.
The Vikings ownership, led by businessman Zygi Wilf, is getting fed up. Wilf is an avid football fan, and by all accounts has no interest in relocating the team, but if he cannot get a new stadium, he will have to go.
Los Angeles is the place most people think the Vikings would go. The city is a huge market and has been missing the NFL for a while.
Minnesotans need to start thinking about the possibility of losing the Vikings if they can't get a new stadium deal done. The state dragged its feet over the North Stars leaving, and was devastated when the franchise actually left. Maybe they didn't think it could happen.
It could. It did. It might happen again.
If the Vikings do leave, the NFL wouldn't think of giving Minnesota an expansion franchise for at least five years, and even if they did, Minnesota would still need a new stadium.
It is in Minnesota's best interest to get a deal done, and soon. Zygi Wilf is a patient man, clearly, but at some point his hand will be forced. Let's hope we don't have to take it that far.