Today the hopes of Minnesota Viking fans are high and they should be.
The state's beloved Vikings open their training camp this afternoon in Mankato, with the majority of starters returning for the National Football League season.
Coaches and fans alike are still waiting to hear whether Brett Favre will return for his 20th year as an NFL quarterback. Even those Vikings fans who last year doubted Favre's ability at age 39 are hoping for his return at age 40 this year. Favre's ankle will likely improve over the next weeks and he will return.
Under Coach Brad Childress, the Vikings have improved every year -- from six victories in 2006, to eight in 2007, to 10 in 2008 and to 12 in 2009. The majority of the 22 starters return for 2010.
At the outset, the Vikings appear to have no major weaknesses, except for an aging stadium lease, which run runs through the end of 2011.
The Vikings' home -- the Metrodome -- has improvements this year with a new turf installed, some new paint (purple, of course) on the outside and a new ticket area.
With Minnesota facing a $6 billion budget deficit in 2011, the Vikings' new stadium chances look to be slim to almost non-existent. Certainly, the state faces some bigger priorities.
Yet the loss of the state's most renowned professional franchise -- either by fan base or by franchise value -- would be a serious loss for our economy and psyche.
We hope a solution is found for the Vikings stadium needs. Hopefully, before it's too late and the Vikings follow the path of the North Stars.