Right around Christmas Day, ProFootballTalk "broke" the news that Peter King was saying on NBC that it was no matter of "if" but "when" the Vikings got a new stadium deal. Minnesota Vikings Fan Blogs and Threads came all over themselves with the exciting news.
But even at the time, something about that report kind of stank--and it was right there in the ProFootballTalk article--"It’s unknown whether the stadium will be built in the team’s preferred location of Arden Hills in Ramsey County, or whether the stadium will be constructed in Minneapolis."
That should have set Bullshit Detectors through the roof, right there. No one knows where the stadium is going to be built, but it is basically a done deal? When the stadium that is being planned needs at least $300 million from the locality that is being built in?
How done can a deal possibly be, a bitter cynic might have asked, if we don't even know WHERE it is going to be built? Was it expected that the Ramsey County people had decided to agree to a horribly regressive tax without their (OK, our/my. Full disclosure, I live in Ramsey County, and I've not heard anything about a groundswell to get this thing built in the most remote corner of our County, like the Vikings wanted) knowledge?
Was there some super offer from Minneapolis that really made the Vikings think again, and had Minneapolis secretly lining up the votes in their City Council to get that nagging $300 million from their people?
The answer, as it we begin to slide into NFL playoffs and mid-January, seems pretty clearly, to be "Nope." Nothing has been decided. Not the site. As of January 5th, Minneapolis was still busy issuing press releases explaining why a central location was better for fans and football. Which is absolutely true--compared to the Arden Hills site, all of the Minneapolis sites are better in terms of central location. But the Vikings/Wilfs want Arden Hills, where the land is cheap and the development can be prodigious. But then again, the City Council members of Minneapolis don't seem to be super psyched to get that stadium, either.
But, wait, stay a moment--if we are still arguing over location, which is possibly a Huge Argument, how can the issue be, as Peter King says, just a question of "When"? In an election year, with many Minnesota Republicans genuinely believing it when they said no more subsidies to anyone? Even for rich folks from out of town who happen to own the local Footballing franchise?
Maybe, just maybe, Peter King is getting his info from the NFL itself, and maybe the official he talked to basically said, "No way are we letting the Vikings leave Minnesota." That would be an unsurprising thing for an NFL official to say--the rivalries are great, the TV dollars are great. Even the terrible, Godforsaken HHH Metrodome fills up when the Bears, Packers or Lions are in town.
But the league not wanting the Vikings to leave is not the same thing as having a new stadium plan in place. And Peter King knows that. I think he was just full of shit when he issued his proclamation that the stadium deal was going to happen. I think he saw it as likely, and maybe thought that no one would remember his overly confident reporting if it didn't happen, or he could always fall back on, "I said it was a matter of when." Peter King is rolling a 20-sided die, and he just needs to hit 11 or better to be right.
Let me be clear--Peter King isn't operating on any special knowledge. It's been a few weeks, after all, and we don't even have a location for this guaranteed new stadium in place. We don't have some $600 million of the public funding needed. What Peter King "reported" was what we've all been saying--there is simply no way the NFL let's Viking Greed break up the NFC North. But that doesn't make a stadium deal a matter of time. Not with the current parameters in place.
The parameters are a bitch. Where is the stadium going to be? Who is going to pay for it? Is it really necessary for the Vikings to have a One Billion Dollar Stadium? Those are three questions that haven't been answered. And to suggest that a new Vikings Stadium is going to happen when those questions haven't been answered is to engage in bullshit. Which is what Peter King, NBC, and ProFootballTalk engaged in when they made it sound like they had a scoop. There is no scoop. There is no deal, not yet.
Oh, and Peter King was full of shit to suggest otherwise.