Minnesota Vikings Should Forget About L.A. and Head East To Philly
Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf wants a new, publicly-funded stadium and by all accounts he wouldn't mind staying in Minneapolis.
No one can really blame the owner for seeking a new stadium after the roof on the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome collapsed on December 12th after a blizzard pounded Minneapolis.
Wilf was left with a stadium that onlookers described as "a giant bowl of sugar." The disaster sent Wilf and the Vikings scrambling in search of a venue to play their final two home games. Ultimately the Vikings played at Ford Field, home of the Detroit Lions, and TCF Bank Stadium, home of the University of Minnesota football team.
The public, however, does not see eye-to-eye with the owner when it comes to the state funding a new stadium. It is the biggest debate between Wilf, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton.
A resolution does not have to be made immediately since the team's lease runs through the end of the 2011 season, but you can't delay a decision for too long.
With the poor economic status in Minnesota, most people feel like Wilf will take his franchise to a resurgent economy in Los Angeles where he could get his new stadium without coughing up the dough.
It makes sense to head West. And the L.A. Vikings has a nice ring to it.
But what about the Philadelphia Vikings?
Yes, you read that correctly. And yes, I am suggesting Wilf pick up shop and move the franchise to Philadelphia.
Some of you will immediately say, "Why would he want to move to Philly when can be in warm and sunny L.A. with so much to do?"
Well when you live in Minneapolis any place you go is going to seem warm and sunny with plenty to do. And I would think Wilf is not going to make a decision based on where he would rather take a vacation.
Wilf wants to be in a city where the team will have a strong fan base and thrive economically.
We've all seen teams come and go in L.A. and the last time I checked Philadelphia is an infinitely better sports city than L.A. could ever dream.
The Philadelphia Eagles currently have 40,000 accounts on their waiting list. That's not 40,000 people, that's accounts. I make the distinction because each account is offered two tickets, which in theory means there are 80,000 people waiting for tickets to come their way.
I know that does not equate to the Philadelphia Vikings picking up 80,000 fans with the drop of a hat. There are accounts where people might back out if they were contacted and many would rather sell their soul than root for any team not called the Eagles.
Those numbers are simply used as way to show the passion held for football in Philadelphia.
Pennsylvania would not completely pay for a new stadium since it didn't do it for Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, and that could prove to be one of the biggest hurdles.
Wilf could easily make up that money by charging personal seat licenses. It is not the most popular move, but it has become common place with any new stadium being constructed.
And even though the Philadelphia economy is not booming, those who have the surplus of cash would be more than willing to shell it out if the Vikings brought something different and exciting to town.
In a word, it would be all about marketing.
So here's what you do: make the Vikings the complete opposite of the Eagles with one twist.
Build an indoor stadium that will host a team dedicated to running the football behind Adrian Peterson. Hire an outspoken or well-known head coach such as former Philadelphia Eagle offensive coordinator Jon Gruden.
And last but not least, bring back quarterback Donovan McNabb.
If that recipe doesn't put backsides in the seats, then I don't know what will.
I know there are hurdles such as where to put the stadium and complaints would probably come from Lurie about another franchise competing with his, but I'm not here to put together a business plan. I'm only offering a suggestion that Wilf think about moving his franchise to Philadelphia.
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