Minneapolis Introduces Vikings Stadium Proposal


Earlier on Monday, Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak stood before the media and offered the city’s proposal for a new Vikings stadium.

The Minneapolis plan would build a new facility on the site of the Metrodome. Money-wise it would break down this way: The Vikings would pay 45%, about $400 million. The state would kick in $300 million, or 33% of the total cost. The city of Minneapolis would then be responsible for the remaining $195 million, 22% of the cost.

That 45% share for the Vikings is higher than any other proposal we’ve heard. Last week it was reported the Vikings would go as high as 40%.

When asked about the Vikings’ reaction to the plan, Rybek said…you’ll have to ask the Vikings. WCCO’s Mark Rosen took Rybek up on his suggestion and indeed asked Vikings stadium front man Lester Bagley. Rosen tweeted of Bagley’s response:

"Vikings Lester Bagley clearly not impressed with Mpls proposal..Can’t afford to play 3 years at TCF while new Dome site stadium is built"

Indeed, it would reportedly take 3 years for the new Metrodome-site facility to be completed, banishing the Vikings to the Gophers’ home stadium for that time. The problem from the Vikings’ end is simple: the Metrodome seats 63,000 for football, but TCF can only accommodate around 50,000. Supposedly, the TCF layout allows for expansion to a capacity of 80,000, but that would mean more investment. If the Vikings build a new home away from the Dome, they can stay in the Dome until construction is finished, then slide over smoothly into their new digs.

Perhaps the Vikings would be more amenable to the Minneapolis plan if their share of the cost were knocked down a bit? 45% sounds like a deliberately high starting point for negotiations.

As for how the city/state would actually pay their share: Viking fans, get ready to pay more for parking. People’s stadiums don’t grow on trees folks. Somebody will have to sacrifice somewhere.

Rybak was quick to make several important positive points about the new stadium proposal.  1) It would create 9,000 jobs. 2) It includes a plan that would renovate Target Center and place both it and the proposed new facility under the same management. 3) Did I mention those 9,000 jobs?

Another important point: No Vikings representative was present at today’s press conference. The Vikings haven’t signed off on the Minneapolis plan, and want to make it clear to everyone – especially the people in Ramsey County – that they are keeping an open mind.

So now the battle lines are apparently drawn: The Minneapolis plan vs. the Ramsey County plan. A Camden Yards-style downtown development – in the words of R.T. Rybak – vs. a sprawling suburban facility with a parking lot the size of Rhode Island.

There’s nothing like a good political smackdown to spruce up an otherwise boring lockout season.

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