Mega Millions fever hits Minnesota as drawing nears

More than $1 billion is up for grabs as the drawing for the Mega Millions jackpot nears.

The jackpot Tuesday night has reach $1.6 billion and lottery fever has hit hard in Minnesota. At one point on Tuesday, nearly $100 worth of tickets were being sold a second statewide, according to lottery officials.

Every time it gets like this, we can’t help but dream. There’s the practical approach.

“I think I would pay off all the debts of all my family members first, then my student loans of course,” said a hopeful lottery ticket buyer.

And the fantasy.

“I’d buy the Minnesota Vikings,” said another lottery ticket buyer.

That is actually still out of reach as the the team is valued at $2.4 billion. So even with mega millions at an unthinkable $1.6 billion jackpot, you’d have to dream smaller.

You could, however, buy Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins’ $84 million contract plus wide receiver Stefon Diggs’ $72 million contract and even throw in Minnesota Twins’ Joe Mauer’s just-expired $184 million deal. Also on the table would be paying the matching $98 million deals of Minnesota Wild’s Ryan Suter and Zach Parise and cover the contracts of Minnesota Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns at $190 millions, Andrew Wiggins at $147 and Jimmy Butler at $92 million.

Altogether, that eight-player shopping spree would ring up to $965 million, which is just a little more than the jackpot’s cash payout.