Monday, March 19, 2012
Vikings stadium: Supporter doubts chances
By Kevin Seifert
The NFL's free-agency frenzy has slowed enough for us to get back to what you have all been clamoring for: Minnesota Vikings stadium updates!
In all seriousness, we haven't hit the stadium issue in a few weeks because almost nothing of note has happened over that period. That inaction reached a newsworthy point Friday afternoon, when a state deadline passed for all bills to be approved by at least one legislative committee. That means the Vikings' $975 million stadium plan, which hasn't cleared a single committee, won't be approved during the 2012 session unless it receives special exemption from state leaders to move forward.
Such exemptions are often a matter of routine, but the necessity in this instance speaks to the middling support this issue has received from most state legislators. Even a staunch stadium supporter, state Rep. John Kriesel, expressed significant doubt over the weekend about the stadium's future. Asked if he thought the bill would be approved before the end of the legislative session next month, Kriesel said: "I don't, I don't unless we really get some things done over the next week."
Kriesel is a straight talker who recently announced he will not run for re-election, so his public statements are likely to be less dipped in politics than the average legislator. But we also know that stadium politics are always cast in doubt until the moment they are resolved. That process could begin by securing an exemption and reviving the committee hearing process. It also will eventually require the support of House Speaker Kurt Zellers, who to this point has been a bystander in the proceedings.
We'll save the "what if no bill passes" discussion for that eventuality, but you already know what I think the Vikings should do. To be continued.