Vikes tanking it to move to L.A.?
VIKES TANKING IT?
Tom Powers of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that there is growing suspicion in the Twin Cities that Vikings owner Zygi Wilf is purposely running the franchise into the ground in an effort to set the stage for a move to greener pastures.
Although we find it highly unlikely that any NFL team would try to lose in the short term in the hopes of killing local interest so that a move would be met with cheers instead of jeers, there's evidence that a relocation could be in the team's future.
Though Wilf expressed a strong desire to keep the team in Minnesota when he purchased the property from Red McCombs in 2005, Wilf's minions are now singing a slightly different tune.
The team's V.P. in charge of stadium development, Lester Bagley, recently had this to say about the sputtering efforts to build a new venue:
"At some point [Governor Tim Pawlenty] is going to have to help us find a solution to this long-standing issue.
He has long told our ownership that he wants to work with us to solve the Vikings' stadium problem, to keep us healthy and in this state."
If the team is never moving out of Minnesota on Wilf's watch, the phrase "in this state" has the same meaning in that passage as would the terms "in this country" or "on this planet."
As we see it, then, those last three words were intended to put the people on notice, implicitly for now, that the Minnesota football team could soon join the former Minnesota basketball team in Southern California, if a new stadium isn't built.
But making the team into a stinker isn't the way to leverage a new deal.
Especially since the fickle L.A. fan base wouldn't be too keen on a team that has zero prospects under Zygi of delivering victory on a consistent basis.
Conspiracy theory: Vikings purposely self-destructing
We are a nation of skeptics and, as a result, generate an abundance of conspiracy theories.
Those barcodes on the merchandise that we purchase? The government tracks them all, thereby keeping tabs on us. And we never really landed on the moon, you know. It was all staged in a Hollywood studio to lift the spirits of a nation. Remember how the American flag rustled after it was planted? There's no air on the moon.
And, of course, Elvis isn't really dead. He's eating a peanut butter and bacon sandwich on an island in the Pacific.
Actually, there might be some truth to that last one. I'm almost positive I caught a glimpse of him on a beach in Hawaii. It either was him or Sidney Ponson.
Here in Minnesota, there is a relatively new conspiracy theory, but one that is gathering tremendous momentum. At first, a couple of Vikings fans tossed it out there like a bad joke. Now I hear it every single day from people who are convinced it is true.
It goes like this: Zygi Wilf is trying to kill interest in the Vikings so it will be easier to move the team.
Come on, I always reply. Nobody is that rotten.
Or â€¦ are â€¦ they?
(Insert creepy pipe organ blast here, just like in the movies.)
Wilf's first official news conference as Vikings owner took place in June 2005. Some of us were, uh, skeptical. Remember that he came out of nowhere to own the team. One day, it's going to be Reggie Fowler. Then suddenly, like a stripper at a bachelor party, Zygi jumps out of the cake smiling and waving.
And I don't even like cake, never mind one with a Wilf filling.
But on that otherwise sunny day at Winter Park, he stuck his chin out and appeared to at least try to address what was on everyone's mind: "If we're stuck in the Metrodome," he said, "we're stuck in the Metrodome. But we'll be here in the Twin Cities area forever. (Moving) is not an option.'
Flash forward to 2007. He's stuck in the Metrodome.
Here's a recent quote from Lester Bagley, the Vikings' vice president in charge of stadium development, on Gov. Tim Pawlenty: "At some point he is going to have to help us find a solution to this long-standing issue. He has long told our ownership that he wants to work with us to solve the Vikings' stadium problem, to keep us healthy and in this state."
I don't think he meant state of mind.
So this marks a shift in rhetoric, although one that certainly was to be expected. Everybody needs some kind of leverage to get things done. But there was surprisingly little panic from the peanut gallery after those well-publicized remarks. Partly, I figure, because, well, a lot of people have lost interest in a team that has become dull, predictable and oblivious to public opinion.
Still, just because Wilf â€” in large part via the stubborn and so-far inept Brad Childress â€” is doing a good job of killing interest in the franchise, it doesn't mean he's actually trying. He's just naturally good at it. And there isn't a strong football figure in a position of authority to turn things around.
Here's the litmus test: Do you think the Wilf family would be happier going to the Super Bowl next season or going 2-14, even if the latter meant a less bumpy path out of town? Yes, agreed. They would be happier winning.
So he might be a bad owner, but he's probably not an evil one. That's my theory on this conspiracy theory, anyway. Oh, and I do wonder about those barcodes.
We'll have to see how the stadium issue plays out. At some point, something probably will happen on the Metrodome's current site. And Minneapolis will give him a couple of city blocks to play with.
With luck, it will all come together. But I do get irritated at the notion that we somehow owe him a stadium right this very minute â€” yesterday, in fact. Nobody twisted his arm to buy the team.
Maybe someone should ask Wilf the following question:
"What have you done for this state, other than to take a pretty good football team and turn it into a lousy one â€” and alienate half the fan base in the process?
Re: Vikes tanking it to move to L.A.?
Please do a search before posting.
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Give a link and a quote.