Stadium bill in Minnesota expected any day now

The next step in what they hope will be the construction of the next home for the Minnesota Vikings could come in a matter of days.

A stadium bill is expected to be introduced in the Minnesota state legislature, perhaps by the end of the week, and the hope is this one will succeed where lawmakers failed a year ago.

Ted Mondale, who leads the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, was optimistic in the remarks he shared with Sid Hartman of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

"My understanding from the bill authors is we're getting close," Mondale told Hartman. "How they want to handle it is obviously up to them. It's to the point now where the majority over at the Capitol now have their bill together and they're going to bring it out.

"I think it can happen this year. I think it's probably as good a shot as ever," Mondale said. "The governor (Mark Dayton) would like to see it, and has laid out what he'd like to see. You can't pass a bill like this unless the governor is supportive of it. (Former governor Tim) Pawlenty was saying, 'Maybe, yes, no,' and when he said, 'I'm not going to vote for it,' it just can't get done."

Many questions remain. The Vikings have said they are only interested in contributing their portion of funds for an open-air stadium. The Metrodome has been used year-round for decades and lawmakers are going to demand a stadium with a roof (more expensive) in order for it to be a multi-use structure suitable for year-round use.

The Vikings’ lease at the Metrodome expires after this coming season. This could be the final at-bat lawmakers in Minnesota have before the team starts seriously exploring stadium options that are hundreds and hundreds of miles away.

"Everyone has seen the economic benefit," Mondale said. "I think, in a strange way, the roof going down has made the case that a controlled-climate facility like the Metrodome is critically important for sports across the state.”

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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