Thursday was a day of mixed messages on the volatile Minnesota Vikings stadium front. A day after declaring the issue in limbo, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton convened a meeting of stadium supporters to resume planning and discussions. But it was hard to know whether to attach any significance to that meeting, and subsequent claims of progress, when the faction that is slowing the process remained unmoved.
I listened to House Speaker Kurt Zellers' midday interview on WCCO radio, and it seemed clear to me that he remains opposed to a special legislative session that would address the issue before the looming expiration of the Vikings' lease at the Metrodome. Zellers said he was not involved in Thursday's meetings and downplayed the risk of delaying resolution past the lease expiration.
"If there was nothing happening," Zellers said, "if we weren't meeting, if we weren't engaged … I would say there is maybe some merit to that argument. But that's absolutely not the truth. There is a lot of activity and a lot of discussion on what is going to be the best solution."
Zellers is assuming that the Vikings won't solicit relocation offers unless they run into a complete political dead end. I have no idea what Vikings owner Zygi Wilf would or wouldn't do in that scenario, but Zellers is making a risky assumption, to be sure.
As we discussed earlier this week, financing options appear to heading into a parallel debate about expanding legalized gambling. New revenues from electronic pull-tabs or racinos could provide the public portion of the stadium plan. Stay tuned.