Ever since the NFL ignored the issue of Los Angeles football during an owners meeting in, well, Los Angeles, I've been downplaying the idea that the Vikings could use it as leverage to secure a new stadium in Minnesota. The situation appears unchanged a year later, as Sam Farmer explained Thursday in the Los Angeles Times.
Farmer's piece is a point-by-point account of why the NFL is nowhere close to having a team in the nation's second-largest market. As long as so many obstacles exist, it will be hard for Vikings officials to credibly suggest they have options if their Metrodome lease expires in 2011 without a new stadium agreement.
As you probably know by now, California real estate magnate Ed Roski has approval to build a stadium on land he owns in suburban Industry, Calif. But Farmer points out a subtlety that is among the impediments to this scenario:
"One of the widely held misconceptions is that [Roski] is going to build a stadium and then hand it over to a team. In fact, what he wants to do is hand over the land and the entitlements to build a stadium, and be rewarded with an equity share in a team. Then it would be up to the team and the NFL to privately finance the stadium."
There is a big difference between simply handing over land and actually building a stadium for a new team. While there is a general assumption that the NFL will one day return to Los Angeles, the current situation doesn't suggest a timetable that will make it a viable near-future option for the Vikings.