Vikings' stadium plan nearly dead
The Minnesota Vikings are backed up deep in their own end and it’s fourth-and-long for approval of a new stadium this year.
The franchise has been hoping that a plan to build a new stadium near their current home at the Metrodome would gain approval and plans would officially be set in motion. But the club was sacked Monday night in the state legislature as the plan to generate public revenue for the project was “decisively rejected” by a House panel, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
That leaves the Vikings and owner Zygi Wilf in a difficult spot. The legistalture will be adjourning for two weeks and the stadium plan that totals nearly $1 billion has little chance of remaining alive this spring, leaving the Vikings in a difficult spot. The club has committed to play at the Metrodome this season, but the lease at the building expired after this past season and it would not be surprising if the Wilfs start making rumblings about packing up the franchise and moving.
“Somebody would have to pull a rabbit out of the hat," Rep. Morrie Lanning, an author of the stadium plan, said when asked what it would take to keep it alive this year.
Team spokesman Lester Bagley strongly suggested the Vikings will soon begin to explore alternative options.
"It's a mistake to think the Vikings and the (National Football League) will continue with the status quo" of playing in the Metrodome Bagley told reporters. “We've got some time left, and we'll see what happens.”
Per the report, the state senate will have to bring the stadium plan back to life and that group already has reviewed the matter and not found ample support to move it along.
How do the dollars add up in this project? The Vikings are on the hook for $427 million with the NFL presumably chipping in to reach that figure. The state would foot the bill for $398 million. The city of Minneapolis would add $150 million. Per the report, the Vikings would kick in an additional $327 million to stadium operations and the city, over a period of time, would add $189 million.
Now, the plan appears headed nowhere this spring, leaving the Vikings to consider options. Don’t be surprised at all if they start making noise about heading elsewhere. They might need that kind of threat to spur action.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune