This might be how the Vikings brass loses its fans.
As the the Minnesota House and Senate tinker with how to finance a bill to get a new stadium built for the Minnesota Vikings, the team's stadium bagman, Lester Bagley, may have made a fatal error by saying that the Vikings owners will not pay an extra $105 million, as the House wants them to do, to get a new stadium built.
I understand the Vikings will keep driving a bargain to not spend a penny more than they've committed. But Bagley's comments can't sit well with most Minnesotans.
I think the House's voting in favor of a stadium bill that would see the Vikings pay slightly more than half for the $975 million stadium, instead of slightly less than half, was the kind of deal you have to expect and accept.
Surely Zygi and Mark Wilf must understand that there are plenty of Minnesotans who have a problem using half a billion dollars in state money to pay for a football palace that will make the Wilf's business more profitable. And surely they know that Minnesota politicians know this, and so those politicians are going to be cautious about voting "yes" to doing so if it might cost them their jobs.
Voting in favor of a stadium bill that lessens the state's commitment by $105 million, and also has the stadium proponent pay at least half its share, is something the politicians probably felt they could sell to their constituents come voting time.
However, with Bagley saying the team will pay $427 million and nothing more on the stadium, the team has lost some moral high ground here. The stadium will make the Vikings a more profitable team and it will increase the value of the franchise significantly. In the long run, the Wilf's and their minority owners will make a nice return on that extra $105 million investment. And they won't go down in Minnesota history as the guys who moved the most popular sports franchise in the state to Los Angeles.
That must be worth something to them.