Suitably braced for impact, I dove back into the mailbag for the first time in a while late last week. I'm glad I did. Amid all the usual bile was a number of notes from Minnesota Vikings fans alerting me to the vast right-wing conspiracy … I mean, message-board discussions about a possible uniform change for the team in 2013.
At the top, I'll tell you I have heard the same scuttlebutt but have absolutely no confirmation that anything is in the works. I think it's worth acknowledging the discussion, especially at this time of the year, and I can tell you I've inquired with the appropriate authorities. If and when they get back to me, I'll pass along the response.
As best as I can tell, the rumors began thanks to some smart piecing together of circumstantial evidence. Colin of Minneapolis noted that much of the Vikings' uniform apparel is discounted at NFL.com, along with those of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Miami Dolphins. The Jaguars and Dolphins have both acknowledged they plan to alter their logos this offseason. (The Jaguars have already unveiled their new logo, while the Dolphins are expected to do so in April.)
Meanwhile, Jake of Milwaukee passed along an email exchange with Vikings website writer Mike Wobschall that went like this:
Q: I have heard a lot on Vikings fan websites and blogs that the Vikings may unveil new uniforms and a new logo to replace the Norseman. Have you heard anything? If they do change would you like to see the 70's unis make a comeback?
A: I have heard a lot but I'm not authorized to disclose any of the information at this point. I can tell you that the Norseman is most certainly not being replaced.
The Vikings last changed their uniform in 2006 and have thus passed the NFL's rule that requires five years to pass between uniform changes. (Last year's modifications as part of the switch from Reebox to Nike doesn't count, according to Paul Lukas of the Uni-Watch blog.)
The Vikings have an economic incentive to keep quiet on any change for as long as possible, if for no other reason than to clear the soon-to-be-outdated inventory before introducing the new product. As I recall, the 2006 changes were announced in April of that offseason, shortly before the draft.
Again, I have no confirmation that a change is in the works. I've made clear over the years that the Vikings' "throwback" uniforms, honoring their heyday in the 1970's, are awfully cool, but as of yet I have not been hired as a design consultant.
If nothing else, I wanted to acknowledge that I'm aware that many of you are talking about this. If the Vikings are planning to maintain their current uniforms for 2013, I'm sure they will offer a public statement as such. If they are quiet about it, continued speculation will be warranted.