The season doesn't begin for nearly four months and Teddy Bridgewater is yet to throw his first meaningful pass, but Tuesday is a potentially landmark day for the for the future of the Minnesota Vikings franchise.
With a new stadium set to open in 2016, Minneapolis is a finalist for Super Bowl LII, to be played in February 2019. The folks in Minny have released this video in advance of their pitch to the NFL:
Minneapolis is competing against New Orleans and Indianapolis and figures to be a heavy underdog. New Orleans has hosted 10 Super Bowls. The Big Easy most recently hosted the Ravens' last-second victory over the 49ers in February 2013, a game most of America knows as "the time the lights went out at the very worst time for the lights to go out." Indianapolis has hosted but one Super Bowl, receiving high marks for its role during the Giants' last-second triumph over the Patriots in February 2011.
Minneapolis has hosted one Super Bowl previously, a 37-24 Redskins defeat of the Bills in January 1992.
There are two factors to consider for every potential Super Bowl host: game week vs. game day. Game week is an all-encompassing folder including hotel rooms, climate, entertainment and transportation. I'd rank the three as follows (and keep in mind I've never been to New Orleans or Minneapolis, so this is less than an educated guess):
1. New Orleans
And then there's game day. You can't host a Super Bowl without a stadium and, most importantly, this is where the NFL can make the most of its money from a Super Bowl. This is where the rankings flip:
3. New Orleans
Before you pencil in New Orleans, remember that Miami - also a 10-time Super Bowl veteran - has not hosted the big game since 2010 and won't again until 2020 at the earliest thanks to a shoddy stadium situation. (Phoenix, San Francisco and Houston will host the next three Super Bowls.) NFL owners would have to feel confident in a new-and-improved Superdome to send its crown jewel back to New Orleans. (Or, maybe Super Bowl week in New Orleans is just that good.)
Indianapolis and Minneapolis often compete as the Big Event Capital Of the Midwest, with those two Super Bowls on top of seven Final Fours in Indy and three in Minny. Indianapolis has the experience, the exquisite downtown, and is on average 10 degrees warmer (or, more accurately, less cold) in February. But there is another trend to consider: the Super Bowl as a carrot. Detroit built a new stadium; Detroit got a Super Bowl. Dallas built a new stadium; Dallas got a Super Bowl. New York built a new stadium; New York got a Super Bowl. Houston built a new stadium; Houston has gotten two Super Bowls. Minneapolis has a new stadium, so where is its Super Bowl?
San Diego, Kansas City and St. Louis could use new stadiums. Atlanta didn't necessarily need a new stadium, but it's getting one anyway. Other owners will want new homes, too, and a Super Bowl is a nice after dinner snack to reward municipalities after swallowing a nine-figure tax burden to get it built.
Sure, Minneapolis has an average low of 12 degrees in February. There's no getting around that. But NFL owners aren't the ones waiting half an hour to get inside their favorite watering holes during Super Bowl week.