The Vikings of 2012 and beyond were the talk of the local sports world over the weekend – not surprising given that neither the Wild nor the Timberwolves made the playoffs in their respective leagues and the Twins are struggling in April. But the future of the Vikings in Minnesota may well hinge on what happens at the State Legislature.
The legislature is scheduled to convene at midnight tonight, but the stadium seems to be stalled after two weeks of momentum as lawmakers scramble to get a tax bill and bonding bill completed. The decision to adjourn the session isn't set in stone, but there is a feeling that the Republican-controlled Congress of the state could adjourn again without a bonding or tax bill.
With all the momentum the stadium has gained since being left for dead two weeks ago today, all that steam seems to be slowly evaporating because of politics that have little to do with the stadium. The Republican-controlled legislature is playing a game of Chicken with Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton, especially as it pertains to a statewide business property tax – a decision Dayton has strongly opposed.
It's going to be a long day in St. Paul if the adjournment happens as expected. Stadium advocates may have to hold their breath and wait, because this one is coming down to the wire – like it or not.
Appearing on "Rosen Sports Sunday" last night, Vikings general manager Rick Spielman talked about not moving up into the second round, saying that when the draft got five picks away from the Vikings, they had five players they graded essentially the same, saying, "We knew we would get one of them and the other four all went off the board." For the record, those four players were CB Casey Hayward, WR Rueben Randle, TE Dwayne Allen and CB Trumaine Johnson.
Sports Illustrated gave the Vikings an "A" grade on its 2012 draft, which trailed only Cincinnati's "A+" grade.
The rationale given by Mike Holmgren to explain why the Browns gave up three extra picks to flip-flop with the Vikings at picks Nos. 3 and 4 was that the team was concerned Tampa Bay would trade with the Vikings. Word out of Tampa is that they weren't in legitimate talks with the Vikings to give up a bunch of picks to move up. It should be noted, however, that when Richardson was off the board, Tampa traded down two spots and took themselves out of the top six blue-chip players that most everyone agreed on.
The Packers may have found the way to grease the wheels to kissing and making up with Brett Favre. With their final pick of a defense-heavy draft (the first six Packers picks were all on defense), Green Bay selected quarterback B.J. Coleman. Coleman has been mentored by Favre and his drafting may be the key to soothing over the hard feelings that have existed between the team and the Hall of Famer.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
The Vikings stadium bill was still very much in question Monday afternoon as the Legislative session was winding down. Will it even make it to vote? That's the multi-million dollar question.
The Vikings stadium bill was still very much in question Monday afternoon.