Minnesota Gov. Says Metrodome Site Vikes' Only Option If Bill Is To Pass This Year
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton told Vikings owners the Wilf family yesterday that the franchise's new venue "will have to be at the Metrodome site if a stadium bill is to pass the Legislature this year, and the team is not happy," according to Doug Belden of the ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS. Officials at the Basilica of St. Mary, “next to the Linden Avenue site, have objected to having a stadium there, as has at least one business owner.” Vikings VP/Stadium Operations & Public Affairs Lester Bagley said, "We were told by the governor's office that the Linden Avenue site is not viable at least in the short run. Vikings ownership is extremely frustrated with the situation." Bagley said that Zygi and Mark Wilf “might be meeting with the governor Wednesday to talk further about a stadium plan.” Dayton spokesperson Katharine Tinucci said, "We're only looking at negotiating the Metrodome now." Belden notes there is “some concern Minneapolis leaders would be reluctant to sell a city-owned portion of the site for a stadium.” A substantial “rehab of the Dome would require the Vikings to play in the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium for three years,” and team officials said that that would mean “financial and other hardships.” The Metrodome plan “was the least expensive" -- $918 million -- of the proposed sites. That figure “includes $11 million for improvements to TCF Bank Stadium to make it NFL ready.” Dayton's office assumed “a $428 million team contribution and $340 million from the state.” The Vikings “have not said how much they would contribute to a stadium site other than Arden Hills” (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 1/24). In Minneapolis, Stassen-Berger, Ragsdale & Kaszuba note Dayton’s decision comes “days after he said that the Metrodome, Linden Avenue and Arden Hills sites all had flaws and that it was a ‘genuine possibility’ no stadium agreement would be reached at the Legislature this year.” Minneapolis officials, including Mayor R.T. Rybak, have said that “rebuilding the Metrodome would be easier to approve in the council than building at the Linden Avenue location” (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/24).