Minnesota Vikings: L.A. or Bust? A Minnesotan's Plea for a New Stadium

Ryan NelsonCorrespondent INovember 20, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 4: Christian Ponder #7 of the Minnesota Vikings waits in the tunnel before the game against the Denver Broncos on December 4, 2011 at Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Los Angeles is huge. I've never been there, I live nearly 2,000 miles away and I still hear all about L.A.

It seems like there's always something going on with L.A. The Lakers, the Dodgers, the Pujo- I mean Angels, the Galaxy, you name it. There's always something in L.A. for sports fans.

Now, I live in Minnesota. I am a Vikings fan, or rube, as we lovingly call it. I can't get enough of Vikings football, even at 2-10.

And you see, we're in a bit of a crisis here.

Our legislators are dragging their feet while our governor works with the Vikings to set up the stadium deal amid Senate hearings on the stadium.

And it makes me sad to see my team—and not just my team, but the team of thousands upon thousands of other fans too—examining the prospect of leaving such a great fan base and a great state for Los Angeles.

It seems sacrilegious to me. It feels like the bigger kid taking my puppy, my best friend, away from me. And those who are supposed to take care of me, and see what I want and what I need, stand idly by while he runs away with my puppy. What makes it worse is the puppy is now licking his face and playing with his friends.

And I'm stuck, sad and lonely, without my puppy.

It's not fair. It really isn't. The media and the attention that buzzes around L.A. all year, save for that two-month period between the World Series and NBA tipoff, is astonishing. It's the second-largest market in the U.S.; what team wouldn't want to go there?

It's an easy answer for the guys trying to make a buck in the NFL. Move to Los Angeles, build a new brand, make money as the team in sole possession of the L.A. market, save for Raider, Charger, and 49er fans. It's easy for them.

But what about me?

What about the fans sitting all over Minnesota who, like me, feel that little pain in their gut when we think about another team leaving the state. The North Stars, the Lakers...we lost both of them. It's sickening to think about.

With the North Stars, Minnesota had to wait nearly a decade for arguably our most popular sport to return to the state. The T-Wolves didn't come along until nearly 35 years after the Lakers left for L.A.

How long would we have to wait for a new puppy? How long would we have to wait for more football?

For a team that, for a long time, was considered to have one of the best home-field advantages in the NFL to move is just gut-wrenching to me.

My hometown team, the team I grew up on. The team that, until I got hurt, I dreamed of playing for. Gone. Poof.

And in this day and age, they wouldn't be the Vikings in L.A. They wouldn't keep the brand, the tradition. No, you scrap it and start over nowadays.

So there it goes.

There goes the tourist money the state gets from traveling Vikes fans in North and South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and even Wisconsin. There goes the NFL from one of the most fierce and fiery fan bases in the league. Right through our fingers. Gone.

And what does our government have to say about it?

No special session? No vote on a stadium? No vote on funding? UNTIL JANUARY?! It's ridiculous to think about, but this is politics. This is what we get when our government doesn't have what the people want in its mind.

67 percent of Minnesotans say it's important to them to keep this team. To the legislature it means nothing. Tradition is out the window. By letting the pro team go, you throw the high school program under the bus because you know the major college product is garbage.

Yeah, they're 2-10 this year. But what about 2009? What about 2004? What about 2002? 1998?

You're going to throw away everything this team has been for the last 50 years to save what, in the big picture, is a small buck right now? How short-sighted, maniacal and ludicrous is that? In one word? Extremely. It's selfish, it's crazy and it's stupid.

This team will leave, and it will love Los Angeles until it realizes there's not enough interest and either move again or fold completely.

So thank you, Minnesota legislature.

Thank you for throwing away what little chance at happiness we get in these times. Thank you for letting one of the best, if not the best, brand on this side of the St. Croix walk away.

Thank you for letting my puppy get taken away without even lifting a finger.