MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — With a report in the Los Angeles Daily News that Zygi Wilf’s private plane was spotted at a Southern California airport yesterday and a see saw battle unfolding at the Capitol, it appears this may be the showdown that could shape the future of the Minnesota Vikings and where they will play.
That’s not only in terms of stadiums but states. That’s states as in other states, namely California. In what can only be seen as a well-orchestrated pressure move, the reports of Wilf’s plane landing in southern California surfaced at almost the same time that a Minnesota Senate committee voted 8-6 to advance the $1 billion stadium at the Metrodome site.
While legislators are squirming at the notion of a public financing roll in any deal, this past few days shows the stadium issue is one where ultimately the team and the NFL holds the cards. The Vikings are a privately owned entity that provides the public with a team that has become a part of the fabric of Minnesota society. The public also has an ownership stake, an emotional ownership built on the equity of hundreds of Sundays spent watching and weeping over a team that over the years has specialized in heartbreak.
Ultimately it is the team and the NFL that can deliver the real heartbreak, because in the end this privately owned entity can up and leave. The only roadblock is the league, who this week offered an unmistakable signal that they are on the owner’s side.
So in a not so subtle reminder, Wilf visits southern California reportedly to meet with that city’s mayor to remind all of us in fly over country that ultimately it is his team. And if Minnesota wants to keep its ownership, it looks like it will have to deliver a stadium with some level of public funding. If not, the path to the team leaving appears to be set.