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“Grassroots QBs” Work For A New Vikings Stadium

March 17, 2011

“This feels just like the North Stars,” one “quarterback” grumbled as we left Vikings facilities in Eden Prairie.

Cory Merrifield, founder of SavetheVikes.org, echoed similar — albeit more optimistic — sentiments. Merrifield’s organization has selected 50 “Grassroots Quarterbacks” who are spearheading efforts to ensure the Vikings do not end up residing in a new state, just as the Minnesota North Stars did eighteen years ago.

On Wednesday evening, the quarterbacks were welcomed to Winter Park by Vikings’ Vice President of Public Affairs Lester Bagley. Bagley presented the case for a new stadium and was followed by Merrifield outlining plans to promote the efforts. The evening concluded with Vikings’ Assistant Director of Public Affairs Jeff Anderson leading a tour of the team’s facilities.

Bagley painted a grim picture of the team’s situation in the Metrodome. Reiterating that their lease with the facility expires in one year, he belabored the point of the Dome “not being a long-term viable stadium.” He added that new stadium legislation currently under consideration would allow his team to better compete and not require the “significant subsidies” currently paid to the team through NFL revenue sharing.

The Vikings are currently in talks with officials in Ramsey and Hennepin counties for possible stadium sites. Negotiations are moving ahead on a site in Arden Hills and two sites in Minneapolis: The current Metrodome space or the North Loop area. For the North Loop area, Bagley floated the idea of creating a “sports complex” that consisted of baseball’s Target Field, basketball’s Target Center, and a new Vikings stadium.

Ultimately, the decision comes down to the Minnesota state legislature. When asked about a timeline for a bill to be introduced, Bagley replied that “it would be in the next couple weeks.”

The Vikings are yet to see a copy of any piece of legislation, and with only 10 weeks left in the current session, the team is forced to idly sit by and wait, much like they have for the past ten years. That’s where Cory Merrifield and his 50 quarterbacks hope to step in.

With a push to fans and local legislators, the group is hoping to stop the Vikings from following in the footsteps of their former hockey brethren.

Merrifield is counting on his efforts to create a permanent home for the Vikings in Minnesota. One that feels nothing like the North Stars.

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