The holiday actual-news doldrums continue, and sportswriters continue to fill it with delicious, speculative nougat:
It’s Christmas, and it looks like Vikings fans are about to get a pretty big gift.
Peter King of Football Night In America reported earlier in the hour (I know this because I was standing right next to him) that the Vikings and Minnesota officials are close to a deal that would keep the team in the state it has called home since entering the league in 1961.
According to King, it’s no longer a question of “if” but “when.”
While I can’t comment on where NBC Sports’ Mike Florio was standing at the time, the rest of it appears to be premature at best, at least according to the Vikings themselves, whose press spokesperson Jeff Anderson tweeted yesterday: “While we continue to work hard on a stadium solution in Minnesota, there is no agreement imminent.”
Reading between the lines, it’s entirely possible that both reports are true: The Vikings are making progress in their talks with the state, but have a long way to go. And then, of course, there’s the little matter of who you mean by “the state” and what you mean by an “agreement”: The Vikings could easily be close to a deal with Gov. Mark Dayton, for example (or his negotiator Ted Mondale), but that doesn’t guarantee that the legisature will back it — or if they do, that whatever local government will be handed the bill for the remainder of the stadium cost will agree, or be able, to supply that share.
So a more accurate headline would probably be “Vikings continuing stadium talks with state officials.” But since that’s pretty much the same headline that people in Minnesota have been reading for the past five years, you can see why King (and Florio) went with the snappier lede.