Vikings do not want to pay for roof at new stadium

The differences between the Minnesota Vikings and state lawmakers over the construction of a new stadium for the franchise remain the same even while the Metrodome roof is badly damaged with the team having just one year remaining on their lease at the building.

Vikings president Lester Bagley told the Associated Press Wednesday that the franchise remains committed to paying one-third of the cost for an open-air stadium, something politicians don’t appear to want. They would rather have a domed stadium or one with a retractable roof which would allow the venue to be more of a multi-purpose facility.

The Vikings, however, don’t want to share the cost of a roof and estimates are an outdoor stadium could cost about $700 million with a roofed stadium costing $900 million.

"A roof does not provide any benefit to the Vikings," Bagley told the AP. "It also costs a couple hundred million dollars more in capital costs, in addition to the operating costs that are much higher for a covered facility."

State Sen. Julie Rosen doesn’t see that plan flying in the legislature.

“If you're going to put this much capital, this much sweat and tears into it, you're going to need a 365-day facility like the Metrodome," she said.

The difference for the Vikings could be about $70 million in construction costs. Then, maintaining an indoor facility is more expensive than an open-air stadium. Rosen is expected to introduce a bill next month. With the state facing a $6 billion budget deficit, lawmakers will have to be creative in how they piece together financing for a stadium in a manner in which the public would support the issue.

"I do feel the Vikings could easily pick up and move," Rosen said. "Because it is a business. You have to ask yourself what would the Legislature be doing if, say, Target was threatening to move out of state? It demands a response."

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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