New Vikings Stadium Design Unveiled

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tempoverhead--nfl_mezz_1280_1024Images of the New Minnesota Vikings Stadium were released tonight. It’s not very often that a community builds a new NFL Stadium so I’m taking a few minutes off from 9/11 research to do a quick post on it.

tempoutside-1--nfl_mezz_1280_1024The New Stadium has some striking features including a sloped roof (one half of which is made out of a clear material) and the end that faces Downtown Minneapolis is made of glass with some giant swinging glass doors that can stay open if it’s nice out. The roof may take some getting used to but the principal architect stated that Job 1 is to KEEP THE SNOW OFF OF THE ROOF! After the Dome roof collapsed several times in the early 80s and again in 2010 this HAD to be a primary design consideration.

tempoutside-stack2--nfl_mezz_1280_1024First and foremost it IS a football stadium:

tempfootball--nfl_mezz_1280_1024The sight lines for football will be KILLER. However the New Stadium is a multipurpose facility that will be awesome for amateur baseball:

tempbaseball--nfl_mezz_1280_1024

The Gopher baseball team is the other big winner in this facility. There was some heated debate about how far the right field wall was going to be from home plate. Zygi gave in a little and the wall is far enough away from home plate to have a real baseball field. The stadium is designed to host all kinds of events like soccer, hockey, basketball, concerts and you guessed it monster truck pulls.

I’m looking forward to 2016 when this thing opens! Skol Vikings!!!

 

Saturday Night Special: Vikings vs. Packers NFC Wild Card Game

The Minnesota Vikings travel to the Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field Saturday night to take on the Green Packers in what should be a wild Wild Card matchup. The Vikings have somehow managed to cobble together a four game win streak and make it into the NFL’s post season tournament. The last win came Sunday at the Dome against the Packers in a shootout 37-34. Aaron Rodgers has pretty much owned the Vikings throwing for 2,840 yards on 70% passing with 24 touchdowns and only four interceptions (116.4 passer rating). He got his again Sunday throwing for 365 yards and four touchdowns but came up short as the Purple hung on to win.

Conventional wisdom says that in order to win in today’s NFL you need a stud quarterback and complex passing attack. Indeed the Packers used that formula to win Super Bowl XLV two years ago. However the Vikings base their Neanderthal offense around future Hall of Fame RB Adrian Peterson. Running behind a fullback out of the I formation Peterson has rushed for 2,097 yards after tearing two knee ligaments a mere 373 days ago in a meaningless game against the Redskins. The Vikings rarely try to fool anyone. They just line up and knock you on your ass. Everyone knows what’s coming but they still can’t stop it.

Peterson gouged the Packers for 199 yards on Sunday. Peterson runs hard and with authority. Sure he can make people miss but he’s not afraid to put his head down and run someone over either. He wears down and demoralizes defenses. A prime example of that was a 28 yard run on second and 27 last Sunday against the Pack. For 99% of the teams in the NFL that is a passing situation. Not for the Vikings. Peterson can break a big run at any time.

The Vikings fortunes turned for the better this year when offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave shrunk the playbook and simplified things for second year QB Christian Ponder. Most coaches think that they have to fool the other team’s coaches in order to win. Musgrave has refreshingly simplified things and let the players play. The Vikings have some very talented players on offense but aside from Peterson most of them are offensive lineman. Center John Sullivan should be starting in the Pro Bowl. Tackles Matt Kalil and Phil Loadholt had great years – especially run blocking. FB Jerome Felton is starting in the Pro Bowl. Felton is an excellent blocker. He buries linebackers and paves the way for Peterson’s big runs. The WR corps may be the worst in the NFL but they CAN make some plays here and there as evidenced by Jarius Wright’s 65 yard catch and run last Sunday.

Watching the Vikings may give you flashbacks to 1966 but winning supersedes style points. Musgrave has come up with a formula for winning: give the ball to Peterson, make a few plays down the field and don’t turn it over. As long as Ponder doesn’t throw interceptions the Vikings are very difficult to beat.

Since 2002 the Packers are an underwhelming 2-4 in playoff games at Lambeau Field. In fact the Vikings won the last time they faced the Packers at Lambeau in the playoffs 31-17 after the 2004 season. Coming off a big win at home the Vikings are confident and not all intimidated by the Packers and their home crowd. Let all of the Hype begin and look for the Purple to come out with a hard fought 31-27 win. SKOL VIKINGS!!

 

Vikings Stadium Update Nov 6, 2011

The Vikings Stadium situation has taken a few more twists and turns this past week. Governor Dayton is a strong Stadium proponent (as am I) and he wanted to convene a special session of the legislature around Thanksgiving to address the Stadium situation. However, House Speaker Kurt Zellers stated on Wednesday that he opposes a special session and feels that the issue should be part of the regular session that convenes January 24th. Zeller’s office received some nasty phone calls about his stance. On this point I agree with Dayton: the Vikings Stadium is a controversial issue and a special session is the best way to deal with it. This way it doesn’t get in the way of regular legislative business.

On Thursday, the Stadium issue started to “regain steam” according to a Pioneer Press report: Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, and his counterpart in the Senate, Republican Julie Rosen of Fairmont, held a news conference with Gov. Mark Dayton and other lawmakers who had met that morning to continue working on a stadium bill that could win bipartisan support. Lanning and Rosen want to get a bill drafted, hold public hearings then convene a special session in late December or early January.

Why is the Vikings Stadium debate so controversial? I think a little background is in order. First, the Vikings are extremely popular in Minnesota. TV Ratings for Vikings games are always strong and when they play the Packers the ratings are through the roof. The Vikings-Packers game 10/23 drew 24.3 million viewers nationwide and was the most watched TV program that week. 71% of the TVs in Minneapolis and Milwaukee were tuned in to the game. In this day and age of dwindling ratings NFL programming remains gravity defying. Secondly, the NFL is an extremely profitable business. Why should the public have to subsidize a juggernaut like the NFL?

In some of the larger markets like New York and Boston the NFL receives little or no public subsidy to build stadiums. In smaller markets like Minneapolis, Green Bay and Kansas City the teams require subsidies to keep up with the big boys. You can only sell personal seat licenses (PSLs) for so much money in a smaller market. New York also has two teams playing in the same stadium. NFL franchises are a rare commodity and in order to acquire and keep a team your city needs to have a modern, revenue producing facility. If your facility is substandard then the NFL will demand a new facility or they will relocate your team to a city that will build a new facility (blackmail).

OK so if you want to play you have to pay. Clearly an overwhelming majority of Minnesotans want to keep the team here. Then the question becomes how to pay for it? Nobody thinks it’s a good idea to use general fund money to dedicate to a stadium project. Earlier this week Governor Dayton and legislative leaders decided to drop the local sales tax proposal to fund $350 million of the project. I also approve of that idea. The Vikings are a statewide asset and one city or county shouldn’t be stuck with 1/3 of the cost. Besides sales taxes are regressive and a poor way to raise money for a stadium.

What is a good funding mechanism then? Gambling is the preferred mechanism according to a Star Tribune Minnesota Poll “Minnesotans much prefer using new forms of gambling revenue to pay for a new Vikings stadium instead of higher taxes.” The poll found “Percent who support each initiative to fund a Vikings stadium: Lottery 81%, Racino 72%, Pulltabs 70% and Minneapolis casino 60%. It’s encouraging to see growing public support for keeping the Vikings in Minnesota, and the support for the funding options is encouraging,” Gov. Mark Dayton said in response to the poll findings.”

 I don’t gamble except for buying a few Powerball tickets a year but I support the Expansion of Gambling to fund a stadium. Minnesotans love to gamble. This is also a voluntary tax: if you oppose your money going to subsidize the NFL then don’t gamble at the Racino or Casino etc. I personally favor the Racino option but I think that with the powerful Indian Gaming Lobby it will be tough to get a Racino or a Minneapolis Casino bill through the legislature. Look for a bill that has a lottery and pulltabs to win approval.

If a bill gets approved then where should the Stadium go? Currently there are three Minneapolis sites and the Vikings preferred site in Arden Hills. The three Minneapolis options are: the current Metrodome site, the Farmer’s Market site and the Basilica site. The Farmer’s market site is right behind Target Field and some architectural renderings emerged this week that show what a proposed Stadium would look like. It’s modeled after Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Nothing wrong with that in my book but I think that the Arden Hills site is the way to go.

If they build a new Stadium on the Metrodome site then the Vikings will have to play at TCF Bank Stadium for 3 years. I think that’s a non-starter. I don’t want to sit outside in January and the team would lose about $10 million a year. The Farmer’s Market site isn’t bad but not much room for tailgating. The Basilica site is a little roomier but I don’t think it has the support from the business community that the Farmer’s Market site has. The Arden Hills site is a home run with 21,000 surface parking spaces and room for a World Class Game Day Experience. Arden Hills is the way to go.

The Vikings are part of our culture in Minnesota and worth preserving. While the price tag for a World Class Stadium is a little steep we can still afford it. The Metrodome was built on the cheap and is an embarrassment at this point. There is no room in the concourses and the restrooms are a total joke. The time has come to do things right for a change in Minnesota. Build the Stadium in Arden Hills and pay for it by expanding gambling.  

Draft Ryan Mallett

The Minnesota Vikings have the 12th pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. They also have a dire need at the QB position. The Packers have Aaron Rodgers and the Bears have Jay Cutler. The NFC North is loaded at the QB position. The Vikings NEED TO GET A REAL QB FOR A CHANGE! I’m tired of taking lower round QB suspects and hoping they somehow pan out. The game has changed to the point now where you just can’t win consistently without a stud QB. Yes it’s nice to have a great defense and running game and special teams and all that but it won’t win a Super Bowl for you. The 2006 Chicago Bears are proof positive of that. That’s why they had to give up the farm to get Jay Cutler. Even Jerry Angelo and Lovie Smith have figured out you need a REAL QB to win the big one.

Ted Thompson in Green Bay drafted Aaron Rodgers in 2005 because Favre was getting old and he didn’t want to be sitting there in small market Green Bay without a QB. That turned out to be a very shrewd move and they won Super Bowl XLV as a result. Rodgers was projected to go 1 or 2 that year but slid down to the Packers at 24. A lot of QB starved teams passed on him like the Dolphins, Bears and Browns. The Vikings passed on him twice that year (we already had Culpepper) opting instead to take fliers on Troy Williamson and Erasmus James neither of whom amounted to anything. In James’ defense he didn’t look too bad before he blew his knee out. Williamson was just a stiff.

The best QB prospect in this draft class is Ryan Mallett. He’s a big kid with a phenomenal arm. You can’t coach 6-7 238. He’s got the best arm in the draft. He throws a great deep ball and puts touch on the shorter throws. Some analysts on the internet state that the 2 biggest stats for a QB prospect are starts and completion percentage. The thought being that his college coaches know him best and if they start him then he must give the team the best chance to win. The other thought is if you can’t complete passes in college then no way you will be able to complete them in the NFL. Mallett started a lot of games and completed a lot passes and threw a ton of touchdowns.

Joe Nelson at KFAN.com has a great blog about Ryan Mallett : Big Risk, Big Reward with Ryan Mallett. Nelson hits the nail on the head: There is far too much anti-Ryan Mallett talk in this country… .. My bottom line points to the production, and nobody produced more than Mallett. Just check out these comparisons to current NFL studs’ college statistics over their final two-years. 

Ryan Mallett: 62 TD, 19 INT, 60 % accuracy.

Drew Brees: 51 TD, 24 INT, 60 % accuracy.

Peyton Manning: 57 TD, 23 INT, 61 % accuracy.

Philip Rivers: 54 TD, 17 INT, 66 % accuracy.

Aaron Rodgers: 43 TD, 13 INT, 63 % accuracy.

Ben Roethlisberger: 59 TD, 21 INT, 66 % accuracy. 

Now compare Mallett to the other top QB prospects in this draft. I didn’t include Cam Newton because he started for only one year.  

Ryan Mallett: 62 TD, 19 INT, 60 % accuracy.

Blaine Gabbert: 40 TD, 18 INT, 60 % accuracy.

Jake Locker: 38 TD, 20 INT, 57 % accuracy.

Christian Ponder: 34 TD, 15 INT, 64 % accuracy.

So Mallett threw 5 more TDs his in his last 2 years in college than Peyton Manning. PEYTON MANNING! Compared to the other QBs in this draft it’s not even close. He’s thrown 22 more TDs than Blaine Gabbert. I saw Mallett play in the Sugar Bowl and the kid can throw the ball. He puts it right in there. The receivers dropped a few they should have caught but he still had 2 TDs in that game. At the combine he threw circles around the rest of those “prospects.”

Mallett gets slammed for doing drugs in college? What a college kid smoking pot?!? No, we can’t have that!! He has an attitude problem. Is he a jerk? Of course he’s a jerk. This just in: THEY ARE ALL JERKS!! But you might as well get the Jerk with the best arm while you are at it! As far as I am concerned it’s all about production. Mallett is the top producing QB in this draft class. It’s no reach to draft him at 12. A lot of these “Draft Experts” have Mallett going in the 2nd round. That’s ridiculous. I’m sure some GM will pull the trigger on him before Round 2 starts. And there is a lot of “Locker Talk” associated with my beloved Purple lately. Good God NO!! Jake Locker is NOT an NFL QB!

Aaron Rodgers tore up the NFL at the end of last year. I don’t care how good your defense is, he is going to score points on you. You have to fight fire with fire. Mallett put up better numbers than Rodgers in college. He may very well do it in the NFL as well. If I were Rick Spielman I wouldn’t mess around: draft Mallett at 12.

Vikings Stadium Bill 2011

The Vikings stadium situation is coming to a head. The Vikings Metrodome lease is up after this season so a deal needs to get done before the end of the legislative session if the team is going to stay long term. Thankfully, new Governor Mark Dayton has wasted little time in addressing the Vikings stadium situation. He has intimated that the Republicans need to send him a bill so he can sign it and he doesn’t want them screwing around until the end of the session like they did last year. To help facilitate a deal Dayton appointed Ted Mondale to chair the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission.

Mondale was at the Capitol yesterday in front of a Senate committee reiterating Dayton’s desire to get a deal done. Julie Rosen has stated that she will introduce a bill in February that will include a site, design and funding mechanism. Previously the Vikings were working on building a new stadium on the site of the Metrodome. Before that they were working with Anoka County on a deal. Talks with Arden Hills and Ramsey County have been heating up lately though Lester Bagley states the team has been talking to a few suburbs.

I’m curious to see where the stadium ends up. Hennepin County is tapped out so if the new stadium goes up in Minneapolis there will need to be some creative financing to fund the project. There are two possible Minneapolis sites: the current Metrodome site and behind Target Field. Arden Hills is also a possibility and Ramsey County officials met with Ted Mondale Thursday. Lester Bagley has stated that the Vikings are also talking to some other suburbs as well.

Bottom Line: This is an exciting time for Vikings fans. I believe that a bill will come forth soon that will finally navigate the legislative labyrinth and get to Governor Dayton’s desk. Dayton has shown far more leadership in the last month than Pawlenty did in 8 years. Dayton is willing to twist some arms and he has a point man in Ted Mondale who knows how to get things done in Minnesota. This is the closest the Vikings have ever come to replacing the Metrodome.

Of course there  are plenty of folks who don’t want any public money used to build stadiums for billionaires. The reality of the situation is that nearly all corporations need welfare to survive. The NFL is no different. State supported capitalism cannot exist without state support. If the stadium doesn’t get built the Vikings will leave then we will spend a lot more money to lure another team 5 or 10 years down the line. Git ‘er done!!

Jay Cutler Is Not A Wuss

I am a die-hard Minnesota Vikings fan so I pretty much hate the Chicago Bears. Unless they are playing the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game. I’m not a big Jay Cutler fan either but let’s give the man his due here. He tried playing with a torn MCL and he couldn’t do anything. He was throwing off his back foot and couldn’t get anything on the ball. I always watch his feet and towards the middle of the 2nd quarter I could see he had nothing. He couldn’t plant his foot and get anything on his throws. He was a one-legged man at a butt- kicking contest.  Jay Cutler always aggravates me with his poor footwork. The man has a cannon of an arm and when he chooses to use his feet correctly he is a very good QB. But on Sunday I could see that he was trying to step into his throws but he just couldn’t do it. At that point he wasn’t doing the team any good. If a rube like me sitting in my basement could see this don’t you think the Bears coaches did as well?!? That’s why they pulled him out of the game. Jay was bummed that he couldn’t play in the biggest game of his life and sat despondently on the bench. Some say that he should have been up being a RAH RAH guy cheering the team on. That’s not Jay on a good day and with a torn up knee he clearly wasn’t in the mood for that. I’m not going to rip him for that either.

Bottom line: Jay Cutler is tougher than 99.99% of the public and they have no business questioning his toughness. As far as the former players I don’t give their criticism much credence either. It appears that they are just looking for a little attention. Everybody plays hurt. You can’t play when you are injured and are unable to perform your duties.