Packers fans, is it time to help the Vikings?

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The improvements to Lambeau Field have been supported by the vast majority of Packers fans. Raymond T. Rivard photograph

In Wisconsin, we’re fighting over who should be governor. In Minnesota, they’re fighting to keep their professional football team.

Considering where we’re at, some may say we’re crazy here, but considering where the Minnesotans are at, we could say the same about them. So, who are we to give them advice.

Well, when it comes to politics, we may not be the brightest, but when it comes to Professional Football, we believe we know a thing or two.

For one, we know how to support our team. Recent history shows that … when it came to renovating Lambeau Field in the late 90s, the people of Brown County came through in support of a plan to recreate the granddaddy of all NFL stadiums. When it came time again this past year to take another step in improving the facility, Packers fans bought “worthless” pieces of paper stock because they loved the team. Fans realize that without the Packers in Green Bay, the hole would simply be too big to fill. The entire state would suffer, the economy would take a huge hit.

That’s why there is a team in Green Bay with 13 all-time NFL Championships and four Super Bowl titles … commitment.

Now consider what is occurring in Minnesota. The Vikings need a stadium – they need it badly. Playing in probably the worst venue in all of the National Football League, the Vikings call the Metrodome home. Whether it’s the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome or the Mall of America Dome, it’s a horrible stadium. The Twins left there years ago for a reason. The Vikings need to follow suit.

But they can’t.

Why?

Because politicians have got their gloms on their future and they have an owner who seemingly would be in Los Angeles than in Minnesota and doesn’t want to shell out the dough to keep the team in the North Division.

The fans are going crazy – you’ve got the fiscally conservative who understand the importance in keeping the team inMinnesota, but don’t want any kind of increase in taxes. On the opposite side of the aisle you’ve got those who feel building a stadium will bring much-needed jobs to the state while keeping the Vikings at home for decades to come.

The team’s fate lies in the hands of plodding politicians who seem to endorse a new plan with each passing day. The most recent plan negotiated by the governor, key lawmakers, the Minneapolis mayor and the team, according to the Associated Press, would have the Vikings cover about $427 million of the construction costs, or about 44%. The state would pay $398 million, with the money coming from an expansion of gambling. The city of Minneapolis would kick in $150 million by redirecting an existing hospitality tax.

But almost every aspect of the deal was being tested today on the House floor. A major amendment proposed in the House would cap the state’s share at $293 million, while requiring the team to come up with $532 million from private funds.

And this is just one of many proposed amendments that have been floated over the past few weeks, with more to come. While the most recent version of the bill limped through the House last night, it must also make it through the Senate with an ultimate compromise between both houses far, far from reality.

So, you see, the Vikings franchise is in deep trouble … so deep that maybe it’s time for the Packers to come forward. After all, what would the NFC North Division be without a Packers vs. Vikings rivalry? While all rivalries in the North are important, take away the Vikings and the entire league would suffer. Yes, Packers vs. Lions and Packers vs. Bears are huge, but there is a unique history of Packers vs. Vikings that would be sorely missed if Minnesota isn’t able to come together on a workable solution to bring about a new stadium.

Though it’s highly unlikely the Packers brass would come through in a financial manner for the Vikings in much the same way that George Halas did way back several decades ago when he pitched in to help a slumping Packers franchise. In this day and age, something like that would never happen. But in these days of grassroots supporters raising issues of importance, maybe it’s time for Packers fans to march on the State Capitol in St. Paul. Maybe it’s time to join arm in arm with those Vikings fans to show solidarity.

The only way to get politicians to act is hit them where it hurts them most – at the ballot box. Though we can’t vote in Minnesota, we’ve got to show Vikings fans that they’ve got to use their political power to bring about action.

In addition, they’ve got to show resolve and commitment for their team. Much like Packers fans have done through the years, Vikings fans have got to emulate what has been so successful here in Wisconsin.

They need our support, they need our attitude, they need our help.

If they don’t light a fire under their representatives and do it soon, there won’t be any need … the Vikings will be history.

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Tags: Chicago Bears Detroit Lions George Halas Green Bay Packers Lambeau Field Metrodome Minnesota Vikings NFL St. Paul Minnesota Super Bowl

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