Could the Minnesota Vikings become the L.A. Vi-queens?
This week, Fansided Minnesota Vikings blogger Dan Zinski of The Viking Age reported his concern over the unstable status of that franchise and why recent developments could indicate that the Vikings’ 50-year tenure in the land of 10,000 lakes is in danger.
Zinski wrote in his blog this week:
"“If billionaire Philip Anschutz has his way, Los Angeles will soon have a new NFL team. That team could end up being the Vikings.“Tim Leiweke, president of the dreaded AEG, has confirmed Anschutz’s interest in purchasing majority stake in an existing franchise, with an eye toward installing that team in AEG’s proposed Farmers Field. Speaking to the Orange County Register, Leiweke named the five teams on his and Mr. Anschutz’s list of targets: Minnesota, St. Louis, Oakland, Jacksonville and San Diego.”"
The possibility of waving goodbye to the Vikings’ franchise has been rumored for years, but has heated up the past six months for various reasons.
First of all, after next season the Vikes will have no home. The lease for Mall of America Field ends and the team will have no place to call home. Given that the stadium’s future date with the wrecking ball doesn’t provide any type of security, the Vikings seem destined at this point for homelessness.
They could play at the University of Minnesota’s facility, but that doesn’t provide any type of long-term security.
Second of all, the Vikes have signed on with Ramsey County and the northern suburb of Arden Hills, but that deal lies in limbo amid a political nightmare that is the Minnesota Legislature.
The most important question, in addition to financing from governmental bodies that are already facing massive deficits, is how to build infrastructure for access to a new stadium in Arden Hills.
Whatever plan that might be ok’d will probably face significant public backlash.
Zinski shows his concern but also includes some hope:
"“Opting out of the Ramsey County deal and settling for the less-costly downtown Minneapolis alternative is still on the table, but I’m sure Zygi Wilf would be bitterly disappointed if they had to resort to this. Maybe even disappointed enough to scrap the stay-in-Minneapolis plan altogether and take the AEG/Anschutz deal.“Nothing coming out of the Vikings camp about this story is really worth much. Naturally, they are going to say they’re committed to staying in Minnesota. And of course they’re happy the AEG/Philip Anschutz story is out there because they need all the leverage they can get.”"
While many Packers fans may be sitting on the sidelines and silently hoping for the downfall of this franchise, I am one who hopes for resolution and answers that will keep the Vikings in Minnesota.
To me, it would be a sad day if the Vikings packed their helmets and left for the West Coast. From a competitive standpoint, it would leave a huge hole in the NFC North that would be impossible to fill. Sure, you could pull the Rams out of the NFC West and swap them for the Vikes, but can you imagine what a competitive letdown it would turn out to be? It would take a generation before it would be accepted by the fan base.
Playing the Vikings twice each year is just one of the highlights for Packers fans. You might remember how high the emotions were when Daunte Culpepper and Randy Moss came to town … How about when Brett Favre and Adrian Peterson came to town?
In fact, until last year when the Bears vs Packers took center stage, the biggest Packers games for at least the past couple of decades have been those against the Vikings.
Again, Zinski indicates his nervousness, but couches it with a hint of hope:
"“It’s still too soon to panic. But if the Minnesota Legislature doesn’t start moving? There will be more rumors, more denials and more severe nail-biting.”"
Moving the Vikes to the West Coast would be devastating … Not only to the NFC North, but to the NFL.
My hope is that the team, the Legislature and the state can find their way toward resolving the problems they face.