Hartman: If Vikings are sold, they could be moved

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 16, 2012 - 6:51 AM

The team needs a new stadium to generate revenue. If the owners tire of waiting, a sale could be disastrous.

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Conceptual image of new Vikings stadium

The Vikings have several owners besides Chairman Zygi Wilf and President Mark Wilf, the most visible partners of the organization.

The silent stockholders are Leonard Wilf, Jeffrey Wilf, Reggie Fowler, Alan Landis and David Mandelbaum.

While Zygi and Mark Wilf are more directly involved in management of the team, the other partners are investors who I'm sure weren't happy when recently there was a call for an additional $20 million investment, with each partner's payment based on his percentage of ownership.

The call was made because the club hasn't shown any type of profit the past couple of years and operating capital was needed.

So believe me when I report that the investors other than Zygi and Mark aren't going to keep coming up with money if the club continues to make those calls. And those calls are going to continue if the Vikings don't get a new stadium, which would generate the money they need to operate and compete and not rank at the bottom of the NFL in revenue.

If this pattern continues, Mr. Speaker of the House Kurt Zellers -- who refuses to get behind the stadium bill in the Legislature -- the Vikings will be sold and the buyer will pay a big price if he can move the team to Los Angeles, which I'm sure will happen if the Wilfs sell the team.

Until recently, the Jacksonville Jaguars were considered the leading candidate to move to California. But when Wayne Weaver sold the team to Shahid Khan late last year, the conditions were that the sale wouldn't be made unless the buyer agreed not to move the team under any conditions. That eliminated Jacksonville as a team to move and made the Vikings more desirable if they don't get the stadium.

The St. Louis Rams also were candidates to move, but the city of St. Louis apparently is going to satisfy the owners by remodeling the Edward Jones Dome.

What troubles me is that Mr. Zellers and his cohorts in the Legislature don't realize, as I have pointed out many times, that this is not only a Vikings stadium. The football team would use the building only 10 days a year plus any playoff games, and a Major League Soccer team, which the Wilfs plan to acquire, also would use the building. But more important, it would enable Minneapolis to attract so many national events such as the NCAA Final Four, the Super Bowl and a possible college bowl game.

Right now the old Metrodome, which opened in 1982, is leased for 300 days of the year. Can you imagine how many more days a new, modern stadium would be occupied with popular events that would bring millions of dollars to the state in the form of income tax, sales tax and business for the hotels and restaurants in town?

Lost other teams

This area already has lost the Minneapolis Lakers, the Minnesota North Stars and nearly lost the Twins several times before Target Field was built.

Believe me, the Vikings will be next if that stadium isn't built. An NFL owner could earn so much more money by operating in Los Angeles instead of the Twin Cities.

Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor informed me that when the new NBA revenue-sharing plan goes into effect in the near future, the Lakers could contribute as much as $50 million to the pot. The Wolves, if they continue to gross what they are now, will receive about $10 million and not pay into the revenue pool.

That is a good reason why the Vikings would make L.A. their home instead of Minneapolis if the stadium isn't built.

Deal made with U

Should a Vikings stadium be built and the team needs to play for a year at the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium, a deal has been made in which the Vikings would rent the stadium for $250,000 per game.

In addition, the university would get all income from parking and concessions.

If the Vikings want to install heating coils under the field to make the field playable in all weather, they would pay for that and any other capital improvements they want to make, including providing additional seating capacity.

Love more serious

I have good reason to believe the description of Wolves forward Kevin Love's injury as a "mild concussion" is closer to a normal concussion that could keep him out of action for the rest of the season. The word is that the neck injury he suffered at the same time when he caught an elbow to the face is not a problem.

Love, Mr. Offense and Rebounding for the Wolves, hasn't played or been around the team since he suffered the injury Wednesday in Denver.

Coach Rick Adelman said he doesn't have any idea when Love will return. No doubt that decision will be made by the doctors and Love himself. Love might have a hard time passing a concussion test with so few games left.

Jottings

• Don't be surprised if you see Justin Morneau play some first base on the road trip that starts Monday in New York. Morneau is not real happy with the designated hitter role and is having a tough time adjuting to it.

• You would hope for the Twins' sake that relief pitcher Glen Perkins regains the form he had in his first three appearances of the season, when he pitched 3 2/3 innings without allowing a run, had given up only two hits and fanned six. On Saturday, Perkins allowed two runs (one earned) to Texas in two-thirds of an inning. Then on Sunday, he allowed a walk, a triple and a game-winning home run to Josh Hamilton without recording an out in the eighth inning in a 4-3 loss to the Rangers, giving him a 8.31 ERA this season.

• Twins farm director Jim Rantz named Rochester shortstop Brian Dozier the minor league player of the week. Dozier went hitless for the first time this season on Sunday but is still hitting an impressive .395. ... Meanwhile, infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka, who hit .226 with the Twins last season, is struggling at Rochester and hitting .128.

• I have to commend former Gophers football coach Tim Brewster for going to and speaking at Gary Tinsley's funeral in Jacksonville, Fla., on Saturday. A lot of former coaches wouldn't have done that.

• Al Newman, the former Twins player and coach, is in his fourth year coaching Little Leaguers in Apple Valley.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. shartman@startribune.com

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