On the same week that the Green Bay Packers announced the details of a stock sale to raise funds for a major stadium improvement, the Minnesota Vikings suffered a setback in their attempt to build a replacement for the Metrodome.
The Vikings were unable to persuade the state government to vote on funding/plans for a new stadium during a special session of the Legislature.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles, thought to be where the Chargers will end up, is back in the picture for the Vikings.
As a Packers fan, I don’t care much about the Vikings. But I do care about how a Vikings move would affect the Packers.
Let’s examine the ways:
1. Would a Vikings move to LA force the NFL to realign the NFC Divisions?
Yes, I believe that the Vikings would no longer be part of the NFC North. The Packers would lose a passion-filled rivalry that has only intensified in recent years (see B. Favre). It doesn’t make sense for the Vikings to fly six-plus hours to play a divisional game. The most logical move would be to swap the St. Louis Rams from the NFC West and Vikings. I wouldn’t call St. Louis “North” but that’s the simplest change.
My ideal situation would be a crazier realignment that moves the Bills from the AFC East to the NFC North. A team that plays half its games in the elements would be a perfect fit in the NFC North and would save ridiculous travel arrangements like Buffalo to Miami flights twice a year (1,300 miles).
This could be accomplished by a little maneuvering. I tried my best not to move teams away from established rivalries (see below).
Taking the place of the Bills in the AFC East would be the Jacksonville Jaguars, which are rumored to be on the shortlist for a potential move or partial move to London, making it all the more necessary to keep them close to the Atlantic. Filling the Jaquars’ spot in the AFC south would be the Chargers. Geographically the Chiefs make more sense, but I can’t see breaking up the Chiefs-Raiders rivalry. And that opens up a perfect spot for the Vikings in the AFC West. Now the only question is whether or not the Vikings will follow the tradition of their westward brethren, the Lakers, and keep their very Minnesota-y name.
2. What kind of effect would the Vikings leaving have on its fans?
I know from pure anecdotal experience that the Packers have a lot of fans in Minnesota (just walk around the Twin Cities on Sundays). And those fans, along with Packers fans who reside in Wisconsin but a Minnesota media market, would be happy. I could also see casual fans of the Vikings coming over to the Packers – especially those who are still kids and not yet attached to the Vikings.
But I have a feeling that die-hard Vikings fans will search for another team to root for – perhaps the Rams. So, the Packers could gain a couple hundred thousand more fans and an already healthy Packers fan base in the Twin Cities could ensure that the Packers are the team on local TV – a huge economic advantage for the Packers organization.
So, what do you think? How would you realign the league if the Vikings made way for warmer climes? Who would Vikings fans root for?