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April 20, 2012
Quick, everybody freak out at once about the Vikings moving!
It's been a fun week in Minnesota since the Vikings stadium bill was effectively killed by the state legislature, or at least fun if you're a breathless headline writer. So far this week we've had:
- Eric Grubman, the NFL's exquisitely named designated stadium hitman, warned on Wednesday that the time is "getting ripe" for the Vikings to move to another city, adding, "There are plenty of willing buyers. I think the Wilfs do not want to sell the franchise, but I think there is a point where they probably would be open-minded." This is, of course, what commissioners and their assistants do, because it's much harder for team owners themselves to play that game.
- Gov. Mark Dayton reported that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney were flying to Minnesota to meet with him, warning: "If it isn't passed this session, the league itself — beyond the Vikings — the league itself has serious concerns about the viability of the franchise here." Dayton didn't indicate whether Steely McBeam has concerns as well.
- The Los Angeles Times asked whether all this means that the Vikings will be moving to L.A., and after diligent research uncovered the fact that "a plane belonging to Vikings owner Zygi Wilf was spotted Thursday at a Southern California airport."
- ESPN's Kevin Seifert felt obligated to run a blog item with the headline, "Breathe people, breathe."
- Mike Ozanian from Forbes, meanwhile, speculates that the NFL wants Minnesota to build a new stadium for the Vikings so that they don't move to L.A., so that the NFL can then reap the expansion fee from putting a new team in L.A. In the L.A. stadium that the NFL says it has no interest in, that is, because it would force the team to pay a ton in rent. Which would reduce any windfall from an expansion fee.
Right now, everyone is just killing time until the state legislative session ends, at which point we can get back to the more important question of whether the state will call a special legislative session to discuss a Vikings stadium bill.