By Elmer Beauregard
In an off season of uncertainty where the NFL is being reexamined from top to bottom - with the Vikings in a state of flux as we work to rebound from a disastrous 2010 season, fix our old stadium, and appease our owners to keep the team in MN - I have been doing some soul searching on the team's behalf. And I have drawn one clear conclusion: just as the league is looking to redefine itself - the Vikings are smack dab in the middle of an identity crisis.
A simple google search defines Vikings as "Scandinavian explorers, warriors, merchants, and pirates who raided, traded, explored and settled in wide areas of Europe and the North Atlantic islands".
A working definition I am using for the Minnesota Vikings is as follows: "An NFL team known for underachieving, having sex parties, and breaking the hearts of its fan base".
As you can clearly see, there is a disconnect between the team's mascot and its identity as an NFL franchise. The team needs to reinvent itself, and there is a great opportunity to do so with a new approach, new look, and most importantly - a new stadium.
The mascot "Vikings" fits Minnesota well with it's many lakes and Scandinavian heritage. Heck, there is evidence that Vikings populated this area long before Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue.
Apart from the logical connection between Vikings and Minnesota - Vikings are just freaking cool. Even now, Vikings capture our collective imagination and permeate popular culture ("Thor" is the number one movie in America right now).
So it's obvious that even apart from what they do on the field, the Vikings are underachieving in using their image to their advantage. I mean come on, purple and gold? Why not fur and rawhide with a wolf skin draped over their shoulder pads?
Bottom line, we are missing out on a huge opportunity to use our Viking roots and our lakes to build the coolest stadium ever by putting the Viking's stadium on Big Island on Lake Minnetonka.
Above is an artist's rendition of what it could look like, borrowing the look of the futuristic Viking castle from the movie "Thor" the stadium would be right on the water. It would also have a sea gate that would open and a Viking ship carrying the team would row into the stadium for a grand entrance.
Lake Minnetonka is one of Minnesota's largest lakes - it is in the Metro area, and would be easily reached by car and/or mass transit. We could build light rail to Wayzata and Excelsior then have ferry boats bring the fans to Big Island just like they did 100 years ago when Big Island was a world class resort destination.
A bridge could be built to access the island by car. There is a nice size swamp in the middle of Big Island that could be filled in to make a huge parking lot. If necessary, we could also pave Deephaven to allow for more parking and build a monorail to the island. Public docks would also be available for people with their own boats. Of course in the winter people could just drive across and park on Lake Minnetonka. Just think, you could have a tailgate party and ice fish at the same time.
Big Island is currently owned by the City of Orono and they aren't doing anything with it so... I think this would be a good use for some of Minnesota's most exclusive property.
Eventually we would add hotels, bars, restaurants and maybe even a casino and create a Viking Village. This village could be open all year round to provide further revenue for the team and the state.
And last but not least, as a part of the proposal, the entire island will be powered by a huge wind turbine to keep the environmentalists happy.