Ventura, Dayton pay up after betting on Vikings playoff game

by Latasha Webb

Gov. Jesse Ventura and Sen. Mark Dayton, D-Minn., were a little too confident last winter when betting on the success of the Minnesota Vikings against the New York Giants.

Ventura bet New York Gov. George E. Pataki that the Vikings would beat the Giants in the playoffs.

Dayton challenged New York Sen. Hillary Clinton.

But the Giants 42-0 demolition of the Purple had the Minnesota lawmakers turning red.

“It’s pretty sad when the top-seeded team in the playoffs is considered an underdog in its own stadium,” Ventura said in January. “I don’t think the Vikings have much of a problem Sunday unless the Giants bring (Frank) Gifford and (Pat) Summerall out of retirement.”

Dayton had to swallow his words after the Vikings loss.

“I’m confident that no recounts will be needed on Sunday as the Vikings are crowned NFC champs and head to the Super Bowl,” Dayton said in January.

“I’ll fight for Minnesota’s interests every time I can, and this time I’ve got Randy Moss, Cris Carter, Daunte Culpepper, Robert Smith and Dennis Green on my side,” he said.

Clinton agreed to give Dayton a New York cheesecake, maple syrup and “Jazz,” a book written by Toni Morrison, if the Vikings prevailed.

Dayton has already made good on his wager. He gave Clinton two pounds of Minnesota wild rice, two pounds of Minnesota cheese and “How to Talk Minnesotan,” a book by Howard Mohr.

Had the Vikings defeated the Giants, Pataki would have participated in Ventura’s fishing opener. Ventura will make good on his bet by participating in the “Ultimate Fishing Derby” at Onondaga Lake in Syracuse, N. Y., on Aug. 3.

The lake is known by New Yorkers as a community center featuring sporting events, festivals and activities.

But Ventura might not want to eat any fish he catches. The lake is also known for environmental problems in the recent past including low-oxygen conditions, sewer overflows, mercury content and reduced plant life.

Latasha Webb welcomes comments at [email protected]