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Vikings cut ties to Stadium Commission: No more ‘political games,’ Wilfs say

The Vikings-Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission kerfuffle that exploded Tuesday spun out of control tonight.
Team owners Zygi and Mark Wilf sent an angry letter to Paul Thatcher, chairman of the commission’s finance committee, informing him t

The Vikings-Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission kerfuffle that exploded Tuesday spun out of control tonight.

Team owners Zygi and Mark Wilf sent an angry letter to Paul Thatcher, chairman of the commission’s finance committee, informing him that they have instructed team staff to halt all “engagement” with the agency, “unless and until the Commission gets serious about resolving the near-term revenue issues and acting like a partner with us to retain this valued franchise in the Minnesota for the next generation of fans.

“The time for more political games on this issue has expired,” they added. “Actions – not words – will signal to us whether the Commission is a partner or an obstructionist in our efforts to resolve our long-term stadium issue.”

They added bluntly: “Your actions yesterday leave us confused and questioning the future of this franchise.”

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The letter came after a resolution passed in Thatcher’s committee seeking to forge an extension of the Vikings’ Metrodome lease, which expires after the 2011 season. Thatcher also declared that the political chances for a new stadium effort during the 2010 legislative session were dim.

The letter said:

“The Minnesota Vikings are shocked, exasperated and extremely disappointed by the flawed ‘revenue relief’ proposal advanced by you and passed in your Committee … This action was a cynical attempt to advance a ‘proposal’ that you know is totally unacceptable to the Minnesota Vikings and fails to address the issues important to both the short-term and long-term success of this franchise in Minnesota. We can’t help but note the irony that the actions in your Committee threaten the Viking’s future relationship with the MSFC — a Commission which claims it has a mandate to keep the Vikings in Minnesota.”

Added the men, who are landlords of major commercial properties: “We can’t conceive of treating a tenant in such a disrespectful manner if the goal is to retain a valued tenant with a new, long-term lease.”

They added: “Despite the fact the Vikings are at the bottom of the [NFL] in stadium revenues and have the most uncompetitive stadium deal in the NFL, this ownership group has made significant investments —from ownership capital, not stadium revenues — to turn this team around and inject a renewed sense of enthusiasm and pride in the Minnesota Vikings … Your actions yesterday leave us confused and questioning the future of this franchise.”

The full commission meets Thurday morning to vote on the finance committee resolution.