With a price tag in the realm of $800 million I say they can pack up and leave when their lease expires in 2011. In our current economic environment we need to spend this money elsewhere.
With two seasons left on their lease and no stadium bill, the Vikings on Tuesday insinuated next year's legislative session is Minnesota's last chance to keep the 49-year-old NFL franchise. "Having an NFL team in Minnesota requires a stadium solution," the team said in a written statement. "This solution must be finalized in the 2011 Session." Lester Bagley, Vikings vice president of public affairs and stadium development, said the team had no additional comments.
"The statement will speak for itself," he said. "But it shows just how strongly ownership feels about this." The team's Metrodome lease runs through the 2011 season. The Vikings say that without a stadium deal in place, there will be no extension. But next year's legislative session doesn't look any more promising than the one that ended Monday with little substantive movement on the stadium issue.
Lawmakers began this session with a $1.2 billion deficit. Next January — when the Legislature begins to draw up a two-year budget — the deficit is projected to be $5.8 billion, though Gov. Tim Pawlenty said Tuesday that number is misleadingly high.
I think the Vikings are forgetting that we had the Gophers here long before they became the new kids on the block. It seems I am not alone with my frustration.