There were just six of them -- all dressed in Minnesota Vikings jerseys -- but they promised Friday there will be more next month and every month after that until the Vikings get a new stadium. One of them, Todd Glocke of St. Paul, even parked his motorcycle painted in the Vikings colors at the foot of the Capitol steps.
The six fans began what they said would be a monthly vigil on the steps of the State Capitol in St. Paul to urge legislators and the team to work out a deal for a new football stadium. "My intent is not to throw mud at the Legislature or the Vikings," said Cory Merrifield, a season ticket holder from Shakopee. "I want to get them to extend the olive branch" to each other.
"We'd camp out here everyday if we could," said Randy Granlund of Brooklyn Center, who wore a replica jersey worn by Vikings star Percy Harvin.
Merrifield, who said he created his own website, savethevikes,org, said he talked to a top Vikings official two days ago, but said the vigil is not sponsored by the team. Many Vikings fans, he said, do not realize how close the team may be to leaving Minnesota if they do not get a new stadium.
"If you have no Vikings, you have no person like this dressed up," said Scott Asplund, who not only was dressed in a Vikings jersey, but also wore a Vikings "horns" hat and carried a sword and shield.
"There's like $300 [of clothing] represented here," he said, adding that many local vendors profit from fans who buy team jerseys and other gear.
With the Legislature still three months away from convening, and with the state facing a large budget deficit, there has been little public movement on the team's proposal for a new publicly-subsidized stadium on the site of the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis. The team's lease at the Metrodome expires after the 2011 season.