Lester Bagley was hired by the Vikings a decade ago with one simple mission – get a stadium deal done. As the political climate would have it, Bagley found that battle to be akin to his own Vietnam – a malaise of delays, covert undermining by unseen forces and a victory at times that never seemed possible or even in sight.
Bagley was critical to brokering the 11th hour stadium deal that assured the Vikings would remain in Minnesota and, on Tuesday, his service to the effort was recognized with an awards ceremony at the historic St. Paul Hotel.
Bagley was one of several politicians, officials and lobbyists presented with a Public Policy Achievement Award at the ceremony Tuesday. The awards were presented by the publications Politics in Minnesota and Capitol Report.
Bagley oversaw the lobbying effort to convince legislators to get a stadium deal done, even though more than a few times the stadium deal appeared dead and the Vikings were topping the list of relocation candidates to Los Angeles. When the Vikings stadium bill was defeated in committee this spring, it seemed as though the bill was dead in the water. Yet, it not only got resurrected, it got passed – thanks in no small part to a shift in public perception that suddenly became an issue that the public supported. Bagley led the effort to get Vikings fans to contact their legislators and urge them to pass the bill – a grass roots effort rarely seen in this era of partisan politics when there is near gridlock at both the state and federal levels.
Praise for Bagley’s effort came from no less than Sen. Julie Rosen (IR-Fairmount), who said of Bagley, “This legislation would not have been passed without Lester’s leadership and perseverance. It was an honor to work with Lester and his team.”
Years from now, all Vikings fans will remember is that a stadium deal got done. They may not remember Bagley’s contribution to that uphill battle, but on Tuesday, he was honored by those who shape the political landscape of Minnesota for his efforts and his success in getting the votes needed to get a new stadium deal passed.
In addition to Bagley, Public Policy Achievement Awards were given to Rosen, Rep. Morrie Lanning (IR-Moorhead), the House sponsor of the stadium bill, at Gov. Mark Dayton.
The NFL seems to show more respect in terms of its scheduling than any other sport. When the Twins and Vikings shared the Metrodome, there were times when the Vikings had to play three of their first four games of a season on the road because Major League Baseball had scheduled the Twins to play at home on Sundays in September and early October. However, last week the NFL announced that the Vikings-Titans game Oct. 7 would be moved from a noon local start to 3:25 p.m. Why? Not to capitalize on the clash of running back titans Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson, but rather so as not to conflict with the Twin Cities marathon, which will be run that morning and result in additional traffic in downtown Minneapolis at a time when fans would be showing up for a noon game.
Chad Greenway’s Lead the Way Foundation will be part of the Ninth Annual Bohannon Group Foundation of Northwestern Mutual Financial Network’s Charity Golf Event Monday at Mendakota Country Club in Mendota Heights. Among the Vikings players that will take part in the event are Christian Ponder, John Sullivan, Kyle Rudolph, John Carlson and Charlie Johnson.
The Vikings haven’t taken a player in the NFL supplemental in 23 years. On Tuesday, two days before tomorrow’s annual supplemental draft, they were one of the teams represented at the workout of Josh Gordon, a former Baylor wide receiver who is an intriguing prospect at 6-3, 224 pounds. The Vikings are always looking at players that can help the roster, but one has to wonder if they would be willing to give up the commonly assumed going price of a third-round bid to get him. The only thing going for the Vikings is that only two teams – Indianapolis and St. Louis – could submit a third-round bid that would land Gordon ahead of the Vikings. However, given the Vikings’ attention to the wide receiver position in both free agency and the draft, it is unlikely that would make a bid that high on Gordon, thus extending a supplemental draft drought that extends to the first year George Bush was president – Bush 41 (the father), not his son.
A grand jury decided Tuesday not to indict Brandi Favre, 35, after prosecutors sought an indictment on charges she was involved in a ring that was manufacturing methamphetamine. She was one of five people arrested Jan. 12, 2011, in a meth manufacturing raid. The grand jury in Bay St. Louis, Miss., decided there was not enough evidence to link Favre to the charges levied against her.
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.