NFL Lockout Looming? Time for the Minnesota Vikings To Move To Los Angeles
If a new CBA is not agreed upon and the 2011 NFL season is locked out, the Minnesota Vikings could use the lost season to their benefit. A lockout would provide the perfect opportunity for Zygi Wilf and the Vikings to pack up their bags and move to Los Angeles.
The NFL has been foolish enough to leave the second largest NFL market untapped for almost two decades. There has been a lot of clamoring for a team in LA by the league and those living in Los Angeles.
Instead of adding a 33rd team to the NFL, destroying the fantastic league format of 8 four team divisions, moving a current team to the City of Angels makes infinitely more sense.
With the uncertain future of the NFL and the Vikings franchise in Minnesota here are the top 8 reasons the Minnesota Vikings should move to Los Angeles.
Straight Cash, Homey
One of the most memorable sports quotes of all time was given to us by the former Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss. When asked how he was going to pay for a recent fine he was given, he replied "Straight cash, homey."
Moss's quote is a great insight into the mind of the NFL. Lets face it the NFL is a business. A 9 billion dollar business.
Adding an NFL team to a market comparable in size to New York would bring in a large share of revenue. The two franchises in New York have a combined value of roughly 2.3 billion dollars according to Forbes.com. Moving the Vikings to LA may not capture 2.3 billion dollars but it would significantly increase the value of the franchise and the revenue of the NFL.
In 2010 the Minnesota Vikings value was estimated by Forbes.com to be 774 million dollars. That placed them thirtieth out of thirty two teams in the NFL.
A team in LA would quickly jump into the top 7 teams in terms of value. It would be safe to assume they would be worth somewhere between 1.8 billion dollars (Dallas) and 1.1 billion dollars (New York Jets).
It would be foolish for the NFL and for owner Zygi Wilf to ignore the financial benefits of moving the Vikings franchise to Los Angeles.
More info on NFL team values can be found here:
The Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome is known around the NFL as one of the worst stadiums to watch a football game in. The stadium has terrible lighting, far too many partial view seats, and a mediocre playing surface. Due to heavy snowfall last winter there is now a gaping hole in the ceiling of the Metrodome.
It is estimated that repairing the Metrodome will cost 19 million dollars. Zygi Wilf is also in the process of attempting to build a new stadium in the twin cities area at costs estimated to be between 920 million and 1.2 billion. The Vikings organization pledged a 250 million dollar contribution and the NFL would pay 150 million (assuming there is in fact a season). The taxpayers of MN would foot the rest of the bill.
The situation for a new stadium in Los Angeles is much more promising. AEG led by Tim Leiweke has already secured naming rights with State Farm Insurance for a 1 billion dollar stadium in downtown Los Angeles. They have a 700 million dollar loan in place to build the stadium, all they need is a team.
The Mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, is eager to have an NFL team move to Los Angeles. He has even claimed that his city could easily support two teams and may not be happy with only one.
This move makes so much sense for the Vikings organization and would alleviate the headache Zygi Wilf has from trying to build a new stadium in Minnesota. It would also save the taxpayers of MN roughly 600 million dollars.
Despite being around for 50 years the Minnesota Vikings are one of 14 NFL teams that have never won Super Bowl. In fact it has been 34 years since the Vikings last appeared in a Super Bowl.
The Vikings playoff success has been more consistent however, team success is measured by Super Bowl wins.
Last year the Vikings best known (not most talented) player was 41 year old Brett Favre. While he brought plenty of media attention to the team; very little of it was positive. With Favre's latest retirement much of the media appeal Minnesota had, is gone. Not to mention he left a gapping roster hole at the most important position, quarterback.
Their most talented player, Adrian Peterson, plays a position that leads to a very short career. Although Peterson is incredible, the pounding taken by NFL running backs is tremendous (look at the drop off of LaDainian Tomlinson after 8 seasons in the league). Peterson is easily half way through his prime years as an NFL running back.
The Vikings defense is aging quickly and the window for a Super Bowl run is all but closed on the Vikings for the foreseeable future.
Moving to Los Angeles may not fix all of the personnel issues immediately but it will make the team relevant again, simply by putting them in a bigger more appealing market. As the team that brings football back to LA for good, the Vikings will carve a positive place in the NFL history books.
Realigning the Divisions
If the Vikings move to Los Angeles the NFL will have a very simple way to realign the divisions.
The NFC North and NFC West would simply trade the Minnesota Vikings for the St. Louis Rams. The new NFC West would consist of the Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, Arizona Cardinals and the Los Angeles Vikings. The Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers and St. Louis Rams would round out the new NFC North.
The only team that would loose a significant rivalry is the Vikings. They would no longer have their border battle with Green Bay twice a year. With Brett Favre out of the picture that rivalry looses much of the appeal it had over the last two years anyway. The premier rivalry in the NFC North has always been Bears vs Packers and that will not change.
The Vikings would be able to foster a new, in-state, rivalry with the San Francisco 49ers. This matchup could become as heated as the San Diego Chargers vs Oakland Raiders over time.
There is also some bad blood between the Vikings and Seahawks. If you recall, in 2006 Steve Hutchinson, after receiving the transition tag from Seattle, signed a contract to play for Minnesota containing an infamous "poison pill" guaranteeing his 49 million dollar contract if the Seahawks matched the offer. In retaliation the Seahawks offered a similar contract for Vikings wide receiver Nate Burleson that same offseason.
The Rams would no longer be the strongest team in their division entering a very competitive NFC North. Their travel schedule would become significantly easier as all three new division rivals are in the same time zone.
Sam Bradford would round out the NFC North as the most talented division in terms of young quarterbacks. Jay Cutler, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Stafford and Bradford would be very entertaining to watch for the next 5-10 years. It would be great for the NFL to have four marquee quarterbacks facing each other twice a year.
The Green Bay Packers are no doubt the team to beat in the current NFC North and the Bears are right on their heals. Even the lowly Lions had a better record than the Vikings in 2010. The Lions have better young talent on their roster and a brighter future. The Vikings are clearly the bottom of the barrel in the NFC North.
A move to Los Angeles, and the re-aligned NFC West, would make the Vikings debatably the strongest team in the division. Playing two games against the Cardinals, Seahawks, and the 49ers is a dream come true for any NFL team that desires a playoff spot. If the Vikings find a legitimate longterm answer at quarterback they would be the class of the new look NFC West. A division title and playoff spot in the 2012 season would be well within reach.
Celebrity and Sunshine vs Cold and Snow
Free Agency has helped to change the competitive landscape of the NFL.
The stereotypical NFL player wants to take their abilities where the most people will see him play. He wants bright lights and national media coverage. He wants a city that will allow him to enjoy the fruits of his labor and spend his hard earned money on sports cars and classy restaurants or clubs (sports cars cannot be driven 6 months of the year in MN). In terms of player appeal there is no way that Minneapolis/St. Paul holds a candle to Los Angeles.
Big name coaches would see many of the same draws increasing the likelihood of a Bill Cowher or Jon Gruden coaching again. If the Leslie Frazier experiment fails a big name coach will be next in line for the Vikings regardless of where they play.
The Vikings organization would benefit greatly from the extra news coverage, exciting social life, beautiful real estate, warm climate, and overall celebrity associated with LA. It would be worthwhile for Zygi Wilf to give his team the best chance of signing top talent by moving to Los Angeles.
History Repeats Itself
In 1960 Minnesota Lakers owner Bob Short decided to pick up an move his franchise to Los Angeles. Since that day the Lakers have gone on to win 21 division titles, 25 conference titles, and wait for it...11 NBA championships in 50 years. They have 15 players and 3 coaches in the NBA Hall of Fame with at least two more players on the way (Shaq and Kobe).
While it can be said that the Minneapolis Lakers were quite successful before they moved to LA (6 championships) there is no doubt that the move triggered the emergence of one of the greatest franchises in sports history.
If history does in fact repeat itself, the Minnesota Vikings move to Los Angeles could lead to great success in the future. Although it is unrealistic to see Laker type dominance in the NFL it would not be hard to imagine a resurgence in an otherwise unsuccessful franchise. Moving to Los Angeles could be the first step in leading the Vikings to their first Super Bowl victory.
Purple and Gold
The Purple and Gold jerseys of the Vikings, long a topic of debate, would find new appreciation in the LA market already inundated with the Purple and Gold of the Lakers.
It has always been a question in my mind: Should a football team really wear purple? I understand the color's connection to royalty but there is still something wrong with 300 lb. lineman in purple spandex mauling other 300 lb. men.
The fans in the LA area are more accustomed to seeing large men in purple perform fantastic athletic feats and the Vikings would feel right at home.
There would also be a great opportunity for cross sport marketing between the NBA and NFL. Selling Vikings jersey's with Kobe Bryant's name and number and selling Laker Jersey's with Adrian Peterson's name and number could be a whole new fashion fad in LA. Jack Nicholson may even where one of these new jerseys to a Lakers game.
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