Now that the Vikings announcement that they have identified Arden Hills as the future site of a new stadium has had some time to sink in, it’s time to explore what the Vikings have in this location. I’ll admit that when Arden Hills was first mentioned as an option I was adamantly opposed to it and didn’t think it had a chance. Arden Hills sounded an awful lot like Auburn Hills, immediately bringing thoughts of Detroit’s mistakes with out of town stadiums.
A lot has changed since then, well for me anyway. At first though, the farmers market or metrodome sites would be better options to keep the Vikings in Minneapolis, but you lose out on convenient parking, face space constraints and lets face it, the area around the dome never had much going for it. Hubert’s has history and the area near the river has come a long way in recent years, but the dome has been there for almost 30 years with little to show for it. What I’m getting at is that Arden Hills is a clean slate where anything is possible. There will not be a hospital and occupied buildings standing in the way of bars and restaurants surrounding the stadium. Jerry Jones, as annoying as he can be, revolutionized the stadium experience with the Cowboys new home. I’m sure it was with this in mind that Zygi Wilf jumped at the opportunity to create that experience for Vikings fans and make loads of money in the process. In Arden Hills, the Vikings will have space for on-site parking, tailgating, and the ability to surround the stadium with bars, restaurants and hotels.
The Arden Hills site will also give the Vikings much more flexibility to mold the stadium to fit it’s needs as opposed to Minneapolis’ wishes for a multi use stadium. Nothing against concerts and the rollerdome, but that was the biggest road block standing in the way of a retractable roof and open air football, well that and money. I’ll avoid the money topic other than to say that the Vikings are going to get what they want eventually and it needs to be done the right way the first time, so go retractable roof now and don’t regret it later. My hunch is that Arden Hills won’t be opposed to a retractable and I’m sure MLS would like that too. This is purely speculation on my part because as far as I know, a retractable roof hasn’t been included on recent plans. However, Zygi Wilf has stated that he wanted an open air stadium and I think Arden Hills makes that option more likely.
In the end this was an easy choice for the Vikings and one that Minneapolis’ financial concerns made even easier. All we need now is for the state legislature to approve a new stadium and agree to contribute 300 million to the project. Sounds easy enough? Then we can eliminate the bogus Vikings to L.A. talk and move on to more important topics such as, tailgate or tickets?
Judson Coleman may be followed on Twitter @jacalope37