Cory Merrifield was not about to let the situation continue as it was.
"From my perspective," he said, "there was little being done. I wasn't going to sit by and just wave my team off to Los Angeles or another market."
Currently, the Minnesota Vikings are ranked 31st out 32 teams in revenue generation. That means that since the NFL pools ticket sales and broadcast revenue, the rest of the NFL is subsidizing a large part of the Vikings.
The Vikings have been lobbying the legislature for a new stadium for years, but with little progress. With the current economic climate, rumor has it that, again this legislative season, no bill will be promulgated. The Minnesota Vikings' lease runs only through the 2011 season. After that, they have no obligation to play in the Dome and, if they so choose, are available to relocate to more financial-friendly digs.
An exit reminiscent of the Colts, or the Browns, or the Texans, is not , Merrifield believes, what Minnesotans want. And so he started SavetheVikes.org .
"It just hit me one day, about six months ago," Cory said. "We needed grass-roots, fan-fueled lobbying. And I decided, if it was going to get going, really get going, I was going to step up and start it."
To date, SavetheVikes.org has been up and running for approximately five weeks and has had over 10,000 hits on the site. The organization is also on Facebook, where it has over 7,400 fans and is growing daily by the hundreds.
Will their lobbying efforts be successful?
Josh Hewitt, administrator/fan advocate, states that many fans have written to their legislators only to receive replies that this is not the year for a stadium bill. "I don't think this is a decision for the legislature to make unilaterally, without discussion, without input from the community. We're here to make our presence known and let them know the time to get this stadium done is now."
Hewitt is encouraging those who receive neutral or negative replies to continue to contact their representatives. "Regular contact will force them to see that we take this seriously."
And their first full-body contact with the legislature is just days away. SavetheVikes.org has organized a rally on December 3 from 3-6 p.m. on the steps of the state capitol in St. Paul .
"We'll be gathering there once a month from now through the legislative session," said Hewitt. "We want them to feel our presence and our passion."