The plan to build a new Vikings stadium on land next to the Metrodome may be about to take a huge step toward fruition. On Thursday, planners finished drawing up an agreement and we are now waiting for the thee principles – the team, the state and the city – to sign off on it. Once that happens the whole big mess will fall into the lap of the Minnesota legislature who will have to vote on it (damn you democracy). The plan will require the team, state and city to come up with about $900 million total, a third of which will come from Zygi Wilf’s own pocket. Multiple plans for raising the other two-thirds have been put forth over the months including casino gambling, electronic pull tabs, sales taxes and hiring a wizard to conjure the money from a magic hat (why a wizard who can conjure money from a hat needs to hire himself out is a question beyond answering).
The Metrodome-adjacent site included in this plan seems ideal. It satisfies the politicians who want a downtown site. It satisfies the Vikings who don’t want to play for three years in TCF Bank Stadium while the Metrodome is torn down and a new stadium built on the same exact spot. It satisfies those who were concerned that building on other sites in the city would disrupt things they didn’t want disrupted. Best of all, it guarantees the Vikings will stay in Minnesota. And it means the team will only have to spend 2 more full seasons in the Metrodome, with part of the third season likely played at TCF while the Dome is razed and the new facility completed.
Unfortunately “ideal” doesn’t mean “a done deal.” Now let’s watch the politicians tear this thing apart. Many are against using any public money to fund a new stadium. And where will that public money come from anyway? We still have no solid idea. In the end the deal will get approved and the Vikings will get their new stadium, but the story is bound to take many twists and turns before then. Nothing is ever simple in Vikingland.
Update: The word has come down. The Vikings, the state and the city have reached – let’s make sure I get this right – a “preliminary agreement on the division of costs for a $975 million stadium near the Metrodome.” Here’s how it breaks down: The city would pony up $150 million, the state $398 million and the team $427 million. That team contribution is about what they said they would put in at the Arden Hills site. The state chunk is bigger than what was anticipated. Keep in mind this is still only a preliminary agreement. As Lester Bagley said, the numbers are still being negotiated. But at least now we have something semi-concrete to discuss.