Minnesota Vikings sound two-minute warning on stadium

Categories: Vikings

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Should taxpayers foot the bill for a new Purple Palace?
When the Legislature adjourned earlier this week, the latest Vikings stadium bill died on the vine. And while the organization never endorsed the fresh attempt to get taxpayers to foot the bill for a new Purple Palace, it was happy to hammer lawmakers anyway.

"The Vikings organization is extremely disappointed that the Governor and State Legislature did not move the stadium issue forward this year," the team said in a statement. "While we greatly respect the challenges and priorities faced by the State of Minnesota, resolution of this issue has now been pushed to the final year of the lease."

Extremely disappointed, that is, that the governor and lawmakers couldn't find a way, in the midst of grappling with a potentially epic state budget deficit, to shell out some corporate welfare.

Under the deal, the Vikings would have paid $264 million up-front for construction costs. But the remaining $527 million price tag would have been financed by taxpayers over 40 years. There was no stomach for that once the bill hit it's first committee hearing.

The Vikes' lease on the Metrodome expires next year, and a stadium deal "must be finalized in the 2011 Session," the statement said, demanding the next governor and the Legislature play ball: "The Vikings and the NFL have made significant commitments to this market -- commitments that cannot be sustained at the Metrodome."

Or else what? Use your imagination.

Full text of the statement:

The Minnesota Vikings want to thank the tens of thousands of Vikings fans for their tremendous support for a new stadium. We appreciate the army of fans who stand with us at this watershed moment for the future of the franchise in Minnesota.

The Vikings organization is extremely disappointed that the Governor and State Legislature did not move the stadium issue forward this year. While we greatly respect the challenges and priorities faced by the State of Minnesota, resolution of this issue has now been pushed to the final year of the lease. This lack of action will only increase the costs of the project for everyone, plus we missed the opportunity to put thousands of Minnesotans back to work.

The Vikings and the NFL have made significant commitments to this market -- commitments that cannot be sustained at the Metrodome. In 2006, the Vikings were asked by Governor Pawlenty and State leaders to step back and allow the Twins and Gophers stadium issues to be resolved. Those State leaders committed to work with the team to resolve this issue. More than four years later, those commitments have not been honored.

We appeal to our State's leaders to join the bi-partisan group of legislators who have stepped up to work on securing the long-term future of the Vikings in Minnesota. This group of leaders has acknowledged that having an NFL team in Minnesota requires a stadium solution. This solution must be finalized in the 2011 Session.


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