Vikings warming to idea of staying in Minneapolis

Categories: Vikings
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Recent developments make it more likely the Arden Hills stadium won't advance beyond renderings.
After months of insisting that Arden Hills is the team's preferred site for a new Vikings stadium, it appears ownership is warming to the idea of staying in downtown Minneapolis.

During meetings with state political leaders yesterday, owner Zygi Wilf reportedly displayed maps showing how a new stadium would fit at a site near the Basilica of St. Mary or at the so-called Farmers Market site near Target Field.

Wilf's decision to flash those maps comes less than a month after Lester Bagley, Vikings vice president and spokesman for the team's stadium drive, told reporters that "Arden Hills remains our preferred site." Apparently over the holidays the team's political calculus changed.

Assuming a non-tax-increase funding mechanism can be figured out -- and there has been little news on that front in recent weeks -- there are four possible sites for a new stadium, three in downtown Minneapolis and the other out in the suburbia of Arden Hills.

The least expensive of the four would involve simply tearing down the 30-year-old Metrodome and building a new stadium on that property while the team plays at TCF Stadium. The tentative price-tag for that project is $895 million -- not chump change, but at least it's less than a bill.

The Basilica and Farmers Market sites both clock in right around $1.04 billion, which is a bit less than the $1.1 billion or so it could cost to build the stadium in Arden Hills.

With the Vikings' Metrodome lease expiring following last Sunday's season-ending home loss to the Bears and the new legislative session less than three weeks away, time is running short for the team and political leaders to figure out whether, where, and how to build a new stadium.

After all, there's still plenty of time to manufacture L.A. Vikes merchandise with time to spare before the 2012 NFL season, and without a lease the team is now technically free to move wherever the hell Zygi wants.
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Zygi: optimistic about deal and now seriously considering Minneapolis sites.

Zygi, however, expressed optimism following Tuesday's meeting about the prospect of a deal getting done soon here in Minnesota. An AP report quoted him as saying that state leaders are "very encouraged on the progress we're making." He added that he and brother Mark Wilf "feel that a deal is going to be in the works shortly."

Legislators, meanwhile, appear to be sitting on their hands while discussions like the one Tuesday between Zygi and state leaders are ongoing.

An MPR report from Monday notes that "after a decade of pushing to resolve the stadium debate, the Vikings don't sound much closer to their goal," then quotes State Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead and a stadium supporter, as saying:
We're waiting for some additional information to come back from Ramsey County, from the team, and from the city of Minneapolis so that we can evaluate, in effect, their last best offer. We need to know ... how far each of them are willing to go.
Ted Mondale, Dayton's lead stadium negotiator, said last week that stadium supporters hoped to finally choose a site by mid-January. Then, presumably, serious conversations will begin about how to pay for the damn thing.

In any event, unless Zygi has been bluffing in his insistence that the Vikings won't play another game at the Metrodome without an agreement for a new stadium in place, serious conversations about a site and funding need to start happening soon. Otherwise, Minnesota sports fans may need to to find other ways to get their professional football fix come next fall.
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14 comments
Generation X
Generation X

The Vikings have sucked for my entire lifetime. I don't believe LA even wants them - it's all a bluff.

LA Vikings Fan
LA Vikings Fan

These losers need to get out of the state now.  We don't need to publicly subsidize a BILLION+ dollar stadium for a privately owned sports team.  Especially one of the worst teams in the league.

Paul
Paul

If they don't get this issue resolved soon and the Vikings move, I guess the MN fans may have to convert to packerism... this is worse than death. They need to get this figured out.

Joe
Joe

They can go.  I don't care.  There's now way Hennepin County, Minneapolis, or Minnesota can benefit financially from a deal.  I can't believe that they're still pushing for public funding.  ESPECIALLY after this last season.

They can go to LA where they can ALL drop dead of head exhaustion for all I care.

Grease
Grease

So you're two, good for you!

Paul
Paul

Another uninformed person just spouting cr@p. It wouldn't all be subsidized by the public for $1 billion + the Vikings are going to end up paying almost 1/2 the cost, get a loan from the NFL and then they are seeking a way that the state and county can help them out a bit for the rest of it which would be recouped by the state and county in the long run due to the money the team brings in with taxes and the money local businesses get when they play. They would also get a ton of money from it becoming the place where other events are hosted. Think new stadium = Superbowl, NCAA finals, monster trucks, high school events, trade shows, and all sorts of other things that come to town because of a nice new state-of-the-art stadium. Sheesh get a frickin clue before you just whine about something you don't know everything about.

Losers this year, yes. But any given Sunday any team can win in this league. I have faith that this team will turn things around in a year or two and be winning their division and getting into the playoffs again. They have a couple of bad years and people get all a$$hurt about it, obviously not a fan if you think that way.

Paul
Paul

Joe, you obviously haven't even thought it through very far. Think of all the work that constructing a stadium generates, especially for the construction sector which has taken such a big hit since the recession started. Now think of all the tax dollars that the workers have to pay to the state and feds along with them not having to be on unemployment, they are now contributing, so this saves more money, now think of the tax dollars that the multimillionaire players, coaches, and billionaire owner pay to the state for having the Vikings there that would be lost. The local jobs that are lost when the Vikings move out of state due to the stadium workers being now unemployed, local businesses when on Sundays people stop by to eat or watch the game near the game, buy souvenirs, and other merchandise. How about with a new stadium the bonus to the state, county, and city when they get a Superbowl to come to town because the NFL loves to play in the new stadiums. Think this over how the ripple effect will continue on and on and then make an informed decision about how the state, county and city will benefit. I'm sure if you are smart enough you'll come to the same conclusion that the rest of the informed and intelligent people come to. The state needs the Vikings. As an aside, with a bigger better stadium they are even more likely to sell out for many more seasons to come, as a matter of fact they have sold out for 14 straight years. I've been to the metrodome or "mall of america field" and it's a disgusting place, they are definitely in need of a new place to play and they are the most popular franchise in MN.

Joe
Joe

*heat

Chris J Andersen
Chris J Andersen

You should consider citing some facts instead of, what was it, "just spouting cr@p"? It used to be true (in the 30/40's) that stadiums brought it money for the community and state, but most modern research shows that is no longer the case. You are clearly a fan trying to stand by your team, and I get that. Anyone can like any team they want, no matter how terrible, but it shouldn't cost a half billion of my tax dollars just to keep a few sports fans happy 9 or 10 days a year.

Joe
Joe

Oh I've thought about it.  It's just that the things you are talking about doesn't displace the the cost for the public.

You're talking about dollars trickling back on HUGE loan.  There are FAR better ways we could use that money for the good of the public and get a MUCH larger return.

The NFL is a billion dollar industry, and yet they sit and throw scraps to the public and expect us to fight over who gets to lick their boots.

Fuck that.Fuck them.

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