Minnesota Vikings Fans, you have your quarterback. Christian Ponder is potentially the future of your franchise. You now have your Mark Sanchez, your Matt Ryan and your Joe Flacco. It's time to win some ball games.
There's now just one thing left: get your stadium.
This morning, the St. Paul Pioneer Press released Governor Mark Dayton's most recent statement on the stadium situation in Minnesota.
Governor Dayton called the Stadium Bill "a separate standalone matter for the Legislature to consider" and that it would bring several thousand jobs to Minnesota.
With Minnesota's current legislative session expiring on May 23rd, Dayton is urging that this matter be brought to the forefront. It has always been his stance that Minnesota should do everything possible to keep their NFL franchise, so this statement shouldn't come as a surprise to Minnesotans.
Dayton's final statement was, "Get it completed, I'll sign it. Yes. Get it done. Get people to work."
This is excellent news for not just Vikings fans, but all NFC North fans. Keeping the Vikings in Minnesota will keep all of these great "Black and Blue" division rivalries alive. Fans of each NFC North team can bash each other all they want, but what fun would watching the NFL be without having a team to hate?
Fortunately, we shouldn't have to know this reality. Although the bill has been put on the back-burner for the Minnesota budget issue, Governor Dayton said that he would sign the bill before the budget is complete. If the budget is not reached by the expiration date, Dayton will be forced to call an special session.
The bill definitely has the potential to get done. The only thing that is missing is a local partner to help fund one-third of the stadium, and a definite site on which to build it.
Current possibilities for a site include the abandoned ammunitions site in Arden Hills, MN, the current Metrodome site and a site west of Target Field.
The Arden Hills site has the greatest benefit to the fans, creating a great atmosphere for tailgating. This would return Vikings fans to the glory days of the Vikings playing at the Old Metropolitan Stadium. There was no crazier place than the Ol' Met in January of the days of the Purple People Eaters. Personally, that is the site that I would prefer.
Another benefit of the Arden Hills site would be that the local Ramsey County government could potentially be the local partner the Vikings need to get the bill done.
However, this option isn't very attractive to the state legislature who desperately want to keep the Vikings in a downtown venue.
The current Metrodome site is financially an attractive option for the state. They would already have a great spot downtown to build the new stadium. Unfortunately, with the repairs to the roof currently going on, I don't see the Dome being torn down.
The third site, west of Target Field, could possibly be the best of both worlds. The state could potentially turn that side of town into a entertainment district. In fact, that seems to be the plan.
Constructing this entertainment center could be very beneficial to the state financially. The only obstacle for this site would be the local establishments in the area. The Minneapolis Farmer's Market will have to be relocated along with famous the homeless shelter Mary's Place.
Local hero Mary Jo Copeland, founder of Mary's Place, says that she would fight the relocation of her shelter because of its importance to the community, and that she owns the land it's built on. With enough payouts, the bill could still happen, but there are obstacles with all three options.
Regardless of the site, this bill needs to get done. Governor Dayton is committed to its completion. Will the rest of the state legislature share his commitment?