The Minnesota Vikings organization is plowing ahead with its fruitless efforts at getting a new publicly-funded stadium.
The team now has 10 lobbyists working at the state Capitol on its behalf as it seeks the public’s help to pay for a Metrodome replacement. Seven of them registered with the state this month alone.
Team official Lester Bagley said the Vikings haven’t had as big a Capitol presence since the 2006 session. One of the new lobbyists, John Knapp, said the team needed “some more arms and legs” to make the rounds in case the stadium debate moves ahead.
This despite the fact that there’s no formal plan in play for a new stadium, and lawmakers have said they’re focused on fixing the budget and getting Minnesota out of a $1.2 billion projected deficit. Gov. Tim Pawlenty has also nixed the idea of public funding, saying there will be no money for a new Vikings stadium in this year’s budget proposal, while later admitting the Vikings are a valuable asset to Minnesota.
So what the hell are the Wilfs doing here?
All signs are pointing to another big fat NO on a new Vikings stadium. The team is currently under lease at the Metrodome through the 2011 season, but team officials are adamant they won’t consider renewing that lease because the Metrodome makes Minnesota one of the lowest revenue-producing teams in the NFL.
So instead of spending those hard-earned dollars on, oh I don’t know, a long-term solution at quarterback or some other pressing personnel need, the team is throwing away possibly millions of dollars on high-priced lobbyists who are pitching a lost cause.
Yes, a new stadium will pump more revenue into this shit franchise than doing nothing to the Metrodome or even renovating it. But the team can’t pay for a new stadium itself — at least not right now — and it doesn’t look like the state or the public will be pitching in anytime soon, given the recent recession and continued economic instability.
So why not just sit on it another year and see what plays out? If you invest in some more quality players and make another run at a Super Bowl, maybe the support needed for a new stadium will begin to fall into place. The economy will likely be a lot healthier then, too.
I just don’t see the point in banging your head against a wall that isn’t moving.