If you've followed the Minnesota Vikings as long as I have, you know that the team has been clamoring for a new stadium since the 1990s. And the Minnesota legislature, bless its bureaucratic heart, has managed to drag its feet on the issue all the way up until now, the final year of the team's lease with the Metrodome. The attitude in Minnesota has always been, "Oh, a deal will get done AT SOME POINT." Yet, virtually every announced plan for a new Vikings stadium over the past decade has been made without securing full financing, which is like announcing your wife is pregnant prior to conception.
Well, after years and years of empty threats to leave, Vikings spokesman Lester Bagley says the team really means business this time, throwing down the gauntlet and telling the press that they have a mystery suitor. OOH! SECRET ADMIRER!
Spokesman Lester Bagley said another U.S. city other than Los Angeles has contacted the team about possibly relocating.
Bagley wasn't pressed by legislators during the hearing to elaborate on his claim, and he afterward declined to identify the city that had called the Vikings.
"We would let that city speak for themselves," said Bagley, who added the city had approached the team over the past year. "I don't think it's our place to say who it is."
First of all, I love that legislators didn't ask Bagley to elaborate on his claim, which ANY SANE PERSON would do. What is wrong with these people? "Oh hey, another city wants to have us!" "That's nice, let's move on." Idiots.
It's more than possible that Bagley is simply making this supposed mystery city up to use as leverage. Anyone who's seen "Slap Shot" knows it's a winning strategy. But let's take Bagley at his word and assume this second city is real. Which city would be willing to take on a 2-10 team with a long and storied history of coming up small at the worst possible time?
Here are your odds (NOTE: Odds reflect chances of the city being a suitor, NOT whether or not the Vikings will actually end up there):
SAN ANTONIO (3/1): Former owner Red McCombs was rumored to want to bring the team here, and San Antonio has a recent history of hosting NFL games, with the displaced Saints relocating there for a few games in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. This city has secretly coveted an NFL franchise for years, so it wouldn't surprise me if they were the ones trying to lure the Vikes away.
TORONTO (10/1): I've counted on the Bills moving to Canada for so long now that it never occurred to me that some OTHER team would end up there. But maybe that's the case. Maybe the Bills have dragged their feet for too long, and Toronto is willing to dump them for someone willing to get married right now.
LONDON (17/1): Outside of LA, this is the city that Roger Goodell most wants to have an NFL team. A London team would be Goodell's legacy: The first North American sports commissioner to expand his league across an entire ocean. That moment still feels far away, but something tells me that will always be the case until someone has the stones to up and move a team there.
NEW JERSEY (40/1): Remember, owner Zygi Wilf is from Jersey (he grew up a Giants fan), and Wilf was never greeted warmly by the people of Minnesota, whose distrust of outsiders borders on straight-up xenophobia. The New York area could easily support three NFL teams, but the problem is that both New York teams already play in Jersey. That's why I think the New Jersey Vikings should play in Manhattan, just to keep things consistently mislabeled.
SALT LAKE CITY (50/1): Okay, now I'm just looking at a map and picking cities at random.
MEXICO CITY (100/1): They already have a team. It's called the Dallas Cowboys.
DULUTH (1,000/1): Because why not emulate the Packers and build your stadium in the middle of a sparsely populated frozen wasteland? Everyone will adore the Duluth Vikings.