Vikings 'assessing options' as stadium issue remains in limbo
As was expected to be the case, the Minnesota Vikings’ bid for a new stadium will not come up in a special session of the state legislature that has been called in an effort to iron out a massive budget issue.
Instead, the Vikings will have to wait and that wait could carry them into 2012. The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports it’s a disappointing development for the organization, which has been pushing so hard for a new home and has plans to construct one in Arden Hills. Those plans, though, have issues and the main sticking point is financing for needed roadwork in the area. No one has stepped up to say they will pay for it even though there has been chatter of the overall cost of the project dropping. The Vikings have committed $410 million to the stadium initiative with the state and Ramsey County also chipping in. The team’s lease at the Metrodome expires at the end of this season, and that would make the Vikings free agents.
“We're assessing our options,” Vikings vice president Lester Bagley said.
Of course, included in those options would be selling the club or calling the moving vans.
The legislature is attempting to solve a state shutdown, a far more pressing issue than a stadium. So, the timing of a bill to build the Vikings a new home just isn’t right. Gov. Mark Dayton has not ruled out calling another special session this year at which time a stadium could be addressed.
“It's time to cool off, take a break and cook some burgers,” state liaison and stadium point man Ted Mondale said. “There's no doubt the community is committed to getting the team a new stadium.”
Meanwhile, the Metrodome isn’t ready for preseason games just yet. While the new roof was inflated last week, it’s now been determined that a new playing surface must be installed. The hope was the existing one wasn’t damaged too heavily by the snow and ice that collapsed the roof and then the major construction that was needed in the building. However, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports the Vikings need a new playing surface.
The Vikings had a Sportexe surface. The low bid for the job was $476,000, but the report doesn’t indicate what company made that bid. The work must be completed before an Aug. 27 preseason game at the stadium.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune