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Statewide Tour Not Supported

By Viking Update Staff

Date: 3/19/2001

The Vikings are among the lowest stadium revenue teams in the NFL and have begun a lobbying effort to get a new stadium deal put on the front burner. However, early indications are that the stadium is getting a luke-warm response at best.

How much do Minnesotans value the Vikings? How much leverage does Red McCombs to move the team? What avenues do the Vikings have to move the team?

Those and many other questions were asked by longtime friend of VU Tim Hennagir, a newspaper reporter from Detroit Lakes, Minn., as members of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, which serves as owner/operator of the Metrodome, kicked off a six-city outstate tour of Minnesota last week to gauge public support for a new stadium. As is his wont, Hennagir pulled few punches with the MSFC suits when asking about the state of stadium issue.

Among the items gleaned from his interviews, the MSFC is convinced that the Vikings are bound to their Metrodome lease, which runs through 2011. VU has long disputed other Twin Cities media outlets that give credence to McCombs' veiled threats to move the team by stating the simple fact that late NFL Commissioner signed a document with the state saying that, if Minnesota should lose the Vikings before 2011, the NFL would guarantee Minnesota new franchise within two years. According to one MSFC board member, that contract is binding -- he referred to it as "an ancillary backup document that makes the lease iron-clad." It doesn't get much clearer than that.

The feeling coming out of the MSFC's public forums is that, the farther one gets away from the hostile environs of the Metrodome and its in-house fans, the less support a new stadium receives, as taxpayers from hundreds of miles away don't see the immediate financial impact of NFL football in places like Moorhead. Getting a stadium deal done will be difficult at best, but the MSFC is convinced it has several years to get that deal done.

One other stadium related note: even if tacet approval was given to a new stadium, it's estimated that it would take 3-4 years before the Vikings would become a tenant to a new facility. As of now, the MSFC remains adament that the best solution for the Vikings is to renovate the Metrodome -- a plan the Vikings and McCombs have summarily rejected to this point.

MONDAY NOTES * It doesn't look like Todd Steussie has the clamouring interest in his services as many initially thought. His name is being tossed around in sports sections throughout the country, but for the wrong reason. The Giants and Browns have made statements that they are not interested in signing him now and the Bucs are mum on any plans to make an immediate signing, instead hinting that the team might look for a left tackle in next month's draft. However, in the world of the NFL, that could all change tomorrow. * A name that VU tossed out as a frontrunner for the task of replacing Robert Smith if the Vikes decide not to commit fully to Doug Chapman continues to making the rumor mill rounds. Former Jets, Cards and Redskins RB Adrian Murrell is being mentioned as a player the Vikings might be interested in for the right price. * The New York Jets are apparently expressing a serious interest in signing Matthew Hatchette. Unlike vists to Miami and New Orleans that didn't bring out any offers of a contract, the Jets like what they saw and m

-- Mark (Karch, March 19, 2001

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