The headline of the March 7, 2012 Star Tribune story was very confusing: “Senator says Target Center is in Vikings stadium bill, ‘but it isn’t’.” Did you just hear the euphoria of the previous week’s “deal” whimper away? Maneuvers with strings attached by pro-stadium interests may have jeopardized what seemed to be a clear legislative undertaking.
Mayor R.T. Rybak feels compelled to find dollars for the Target Center. Why “all or nothing”? The Star Tribune article of March 7 is self-explanatory, hence our title with three question marks. Three Vikings agreements are still “missing” from the discussions:
1. A lease agreement for the old Metrodome for the 2012, 2013 and 2014 seasons.
2. A rental agreement for University of Minnesota TCF stadium for the 2015 season.
3. A lease agreement with new stadium authority for the 2016 season and beyond.
Governor Dayton’s stadium point man, Ted Mondale, threw sand when he said construction and financial plans would put the Vikings in their new stadium for the 2016 season, even after the Vikings said the extra wait is a deal killer (the Vikings’ owners, not the team, are paying $20 million extra each year on debt service) waiting for the 2004 promise of a new stadium.
I am repeating what has been said by the prime-time players. By the time this column goes to press, will the ink also be drying on these three separate agreements?
Vikings owner Zygi Wilf is neither stupid nor naïve. How can it be assumed that the Vikings can be pressured to sign a long-term agreement on the Metrodome before the new Vikings stadium deal is done? Would any good attorney or financial advisor say this is the best deal for either the ownership group or the team itself, especially with Los Angeles shining with the color of gold?
I’ve been looking at the NFL constitution. It states that when teams operate in a facility, whether owned, leased or rented, they have to protect the interests of the league, the franchise and the players with insurance. The NFL constitution insists upon a clear and concise legal understanding of who is liable for what. How can they do so without a lease?
A year ago the Minnesota Vikings declined to sign an extension of their lease with the Metropolitan Sports Authority. The situation is past rolling things over or extending arrangements and contracts, because right now there are none to extend.
My question, then, continues to be this: How is the negotiation going in regards to the Vikings as Metrodome tenants in 2012, 2013 and 2014 and University TCF Stadium tenants in 2015 with a new stadium lease beginning in 2016?
The Star Tribune article raised serious funding questions. We ask: How can the Vikings open the exhibition season at the Metrodome in early August without these three leases in place?
How can the Minnesota Vikings, the NFL, and the players’ association be expected to play in the Metrodome without a signed and delivered lease agreement and without a new stadium deal? Is this all a part of how the one percent plan to send the Vikings out of town and away from the 99 percent who want to occupy jobs?
Will Minnesota “Save the Vikings” or not? Here are the “wave bye-bye” deal-breakers:
State deal-breaker (Mondale): if state money goes to remodeling Target Center.
City deal-beaker (Rybak): Mayor R.T. Rybak feels compelled to find dollars for the Target Center. Why “all or nothing”? Glenn Taylor?
Vikings’ deal-breaker: Minnesota not keeping 2004 promise to build new stadium.
NFL deal-breaker: Minnesota not keeping 2004 promise to build new stadium.
Fans’ deal-breaker: legislature treating them as too small to occupy big jobs while “too big to fail” corporations are bailed out and given bonuses. Send the stadium jobs to Los Angeles and fans will see that legislators no longer occupy their seats.
Who will call the “family meeting”? In 2000 (Star Tribune, August 10), Dave Jennings, then president of the Chamber of Commerce, said about the future of the Twins and Vikings in Minnesota, “The teams are crying out for somebody to call the family meeting.” The Twins got one. Why not the Vikings?
Bottom line: Minneapolis and Minnesota need our November 9, 2011 plan for fans to unite behind a movement to keep the team. The Vikings have never used Los Angeles as a bluff. Doesn’t matter. High stakes risk: blink or lose, bluff and lose the Vikings.
Ron Edwards hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm, and hosts Blog Talk Radio’s “Black Focus V” on Sundays, 3-3:30 pm and Thursdays, 7-8:30 pm, providing coverage about Black Minnesota. Order his books at www.BeaconOnTheHill.com. Hear his readings and read his solution papers for community planning and development, “web log,” and archives at www.TheMinneapolisStory.com.