Pawlenty ties Vikes camp to stadium

Updated: October 30, 2003, 9:31 AM ET
ESPN

MINNEAPOLIS -- Gov. Tim Pawlenty delivered a message to Minnesota Vikings owner Red McCombs this week: Move your team's training camp out of Minnesota and risk saying goodbye to a new stadium.

Pawlenty told McCombs he wants the annual summer camp to remain in Minnesota.

The Vikings want public financing for a stadium, and proposals may be introduced when the Legislature meets in January. The governor's office, however, said stadium hopes probably would be dashed if the Vikings take their camp elsewhere.

Sioux Falls, S.D., hopes to make a bid for the camp Friday. Camp has been held each summer in Mankato since 1965.

"The governor has expressed his thoughts to Mr. McCombs and they know if they leave for South Dakota it would destroy any chance of passing a stadium bill," Pawlenty's chief of staff, Charlie Weaver, said. "It would be over, because we do not want our companies leaving the state. It would show a lack of commitment on their part. Legislators want the Vikings here."

Weaver said the message was not a warning or meant to be a threat.

"It's a political reality check," he said. "It's just the way it is. We compete with Sioux Falls. We want the Vikings here year-round."

Fargo, N.D., is also expected to bid for the training camp. Duluth is also in the running.

McCombs said he didn't have any comment on the possibility of losing a potential stadium bill if the team takes its training camp to South Dakota.

"It will be taken into consideration," he said from his San Antonio office. "I'm very comfortable with my relationship with Tim and where he stands... . I'd expect a governor to stick up for his state. That's what he should do."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index