It’s going to take more than a patch and some thread to fix the torn Metrodome roof. According to engineers assigned to assess the damage, the stadium’s teflon dome will require full replacement before the Vikings or anyone else will be able to use it again. The Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission has already decided that they will go ahead with the full roof replacement.
And now the Vikings’ reaction. As you might have guessed, despite the shiny new roof about to be installed on the building, the Vikings are not budging an inch in their insistence that the Dome is outdated and a new stadium is required for them to continue operating in Minnesota. Their statement reads:
"The Minnesota Vikings support the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission’s (MSFC) decision to replace the Metrodome’s damaged roof. We appreciate the MSFC’s efforts to ensure a safe environment for all year-round users of the publicly-owned stadium, and we are pleased the Vikings will be able to play in front of our fans at Mall of America Field during the final season of the team’s lease agreement.The Vikings also want to be clear that the MSFC’s decision to replace the roof is not a long-term stadium solution and does not change the urgency to build a new multi-purpose stadium for the State and the Vikings. The Metrodome still ranks at the bottom of the NFL in terms of revenue and fan experience. It is our intent to pursue the final passage of legislation during this year’s legislative session to finance and construct a new stadium, and we are encouraged by the progress on that front."
It just so happens that, at the same time this story was coming out, another stadium-related story was breaking. According to KSTP, the Vikings have submitted a letter of intent to Ramsey County as a first step in beginning negotiations about building a new stadium on the site of the former munitions plant in Arden Hills.
The Arden Hills site would reportedly require an expensive clean-up before meeting environmental standards (it was a munitions plant after all). The suburban site is considered attractive because, unlike the current downtown Metrodome site, there would be room for an expansive parking lot and therefore more tailgating. Local politicians like the potential for further development that would come with a stadium on that site.
Of course none of this really addresses the biggest question of all: how to pay for the new stadium. The team itself has proposed using revenue generated by the popular Vikings scratch-off lottery game (gotta love those John Randle commercials) to put at least a small dent in the reported $700-$900 million price tag for a new venue.
Then there’s the question of whether the stadium will feature a fixed roof, a retractable roof or no roof. Team owner Zygi Wilf favors an open-air facility; Minnesota officials favor a roof. The one thing everyone can agree on? The Metrodome is a dump.