Lester Bagley: Not An Option To Approve Stadium in 2013


After last night’s near death blow for the state House committee voting 9-6 against the $975 million plan to build a replacement for the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis the state’s Governor Mark Dayton said, “If it doesn’t work out, we’ll get it next year. If Minneapolis doesn’t want it — most of their legislators are opposed to it, half of the City Council, almost half, is opposed to it, so if Minneapolis doesn’t want it . . . then somewhere else, Arden Hills, some other site in Minnesota.” Such lingo wasn’t taken too kindly by Vikings Vice President Lester Bagley who is heading the stadium development by saying, “There’s no next year. Our state leaders know that if we want an NFL team in this market we have to resolve this stadium issue.”

And Bagley is right in this equation. The Vikings are committed to playing the 2012 season in Minnesota, however anything beyond that is anyone’s guess. The 2013 legislative session goes from the first week of January through the end of April. If the Vikings are truly serious about not coming back for the 2013 session the key date to monitor is February 15th, 2013. That is indeed the day where NFL teams have to inform the league that they plan on moving for the upcoming season.

Things ultimately have to change if the Vikings are to get a stadium built in the state of Minnesota. Yes, they are contributing a significant amount to the cause, however it may be time for Bagley to go and majority owner Zygi Wilf to do the talking. The Vikings also have to work solely with one community that is not Minneapolis be it going back to Arden Hills or Shakopee. Or maybe threaten to build a stadium in Minnesota entirely on Wilf’s dime where the state wouldn’t be sharing in any of the revenue with the state sans tax dollars. And then there’s the ultimate threat of saying that if public funding isn’t granted towards a new stadium by a certain deadline (which would work for February 15, 2013) the team will file to relocate to Los Angeles and ultimately sell the organization to Anschutz Entertainment Group.

But aren’t we just throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks? There’s not a single sole out there that has all the answers on how a stadium could be built in Minnesota, but its clear right now that the efforts aren’t passing bills let alone building monuments. Damn politics.

Jon Merckle may be followed on Twitter @thevikingpig