Vikings face significant obstacles for Arden Hills stadium

There was plenty of back-slapping to go around when the announcement was made Tuesday that the Minnesota Vikings had reached an agreement with the Twin Cities suburb or Arden Hills to build a retractable-roof stadium.

Reports were that opening statements by the big players and politicians at the event carried on for a half-hour. But in the wake of the news, you need to know it’s far from a done deal.

Gov. Mark Dayton has pledged to contribute $300 million to the project and it all nearly works in the $1.057 billion plan. The Vikings will contribute $407 million to the plan. Ramsey County will come up with $350 million and the $300 million from the state completes the package. Well, not exactly.

As the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports, that total doesn’t account for $200 million needed for highway and road infrastructure to make the stadium work in this location. That’s where the plan could fall apart faster than the Metrodome roof during the storm last December, and that’s what brings the total price tag north of $1.25 billion.

The hangup? Dayton has been adamant that the state will only go as far as $300 million – and he’s not going to tack additional money on for roads needed to make a stadium work. Per the report, Ramsey County will seek the additional $200 million from the state legislature. Suffice to say, Ramsey County could be facing fourth-and-30 on this one. The state has a $5.1 billion deficit to work through and another $200 million to pull this stadium project off seems unlikely.

The legislature’s current session closes May 23 so time is running out. What does it all mean? A downtown plan in Minneapolis could still be alive even though the current offer from the city doesn’t appeal to the Vikings. It also means there is a real possibility a stadium plan will not be put into motion this year. Stay tuned.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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