Mother Nature has delivered what politicians could not: A shared new stadium situation between the Gophers and the Vikings.

Sure, it's only one game (for now). But at the very least, we will be interested to see how this all works out. We honesty don't know how Minnesotans will react to single-digit temperatures at an outdoor football game in December. We're trying to imagine if the Vikings were, say, 8-5 instead of 5-8 and in the playoff hunt. If the Dome couldn't be fixed in time, there would be the potential for even colder January games.

That said, they played in the cold for two decades. It was something every Vikings fan became accustomed to -- and even relished. Then the team moved indoors, and the expectations changed with the climate control.

The older we get, the more we realize how so much in life is just a matter of making adjustments to expectations. With each passing second -- unless they are actively fighting this notion -- people get more inclined to be set in a certain way. And it takes more and more (like, say, a massive snowstorm that forces a football game outside) to make them see that the thing they were counting on wasn't the only option.

Sure, TCF is probably just a one-game stopgap for the Vikings. At most, it could eventually be a temporary home for a couple of seasons if a new stadium is constructed on the Metrodome site (once that building, you know, isn't leaking anymore). We're not crazy enough to think TCF could ever be retrofitted to house both teams (even though it is designed to expand to a capacity of 80,000). That ship has sailed, though we have to wonder if all parties might have approached that potential stadium partnership differently if armed with a crystal ball displaying the current economy.

In better times, a new Vikings stadium would have a very good chance of being built. In these times, we still feel it will happen -- though the gnashing of teeth will be plentiful and real. The decrepit Metrodome won't hurt; even the RBBH, as anti-public funding for a stadium as one can get, said unprompted yesterday that it probably makes more sense to just build a new stadium than fix the Dome.

For now, though: potential. The chance to see the Vikings outside, at home, in a different venue. We're confident enough people will stay away to make capacity manageable. But that doesn't mean we aren't curious to see how the 50,000 who cram inside respond to this nudge in a direction that nobody could have expected. What if everyone gets a taste, and the majority decides that if the alternatives are limited to TCF or the Dome, they'd rather be outside?