The special session has come and gone and now the Minnesota state government is slowly grinding back into operation. The potential legislation authorizing a new Vikings stadium got nowhere, which isn't particularly surprising. And thus begins the game of chicken.
For his part, Gov. Mark Dayton said that the current proposal was "incomplete and unsatisfactory," which is the same thing a lot of us said about Dayton's budget proposal, but we'll leave that aside. As a practical matter, what it means is that the Vikings are now going to be free to leave at the end of this season. Would they?
I'd wager they'd prefer not to move, but they won't hesitate if they don't see some movement soon. At this point Dayton would have to call another special session to deal with the issue and it's unlikely that will happen. The Vikings won't stay in the Metrodome any longer than they have to and have said as much.
Most of the speculation concerning a potential move surrounds developments in Los Angeles, which has not had an NFL team since the 1990s. At this time the two most likely teams to move to the market are the San Diego Chargers or the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Chargers play in a decrepit stadium and there's little chance that the team will get a new stadium. The Jaguars play in a nice stadium, but there simply aren't enough people in the Jacksonville market to maintain a team there for the long term. Both teams have a better reason to move than the Vikings do.
Still, there's no assurance that the Vikings won't be able to get there first. From a financial perspective, the Vikings look much like the Cleveland Browns did in 1995. As anyone in Northeast Ohio can tell you, that didn't work out so well. And while I'm as skeptical as anyone about the benefits of giving Zygi Wilf a new billion dollar playground, he's going to get one someplace. Minnesotans have a decision to make. And if the Vikings don't get what they want, there will be a lot of fans who will find autumn Sundays to be "incomplete and unsatisfactory."