An artist's rendering of the potential new Vikings stadium in Arden Hills, Minnesota. (Picture courtesy of www.mnvikingsfan.com)

Minnesota Vikings Stadium: Vikings To Back Off On Stadium Push During Shutdown

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Minnesota Vikings Stadium: Vikings Slow Stadium Push During Minnesota Shutdown

The entire state of Minnesota has shut down thanks to the budget impasse that both sides have allowed to advance entirely too far. Because of this, every government agency across the state has been closed up, and there are very few people in the state of Minnesota that are unaffected by this.

The Minnesota Vikings no doubt realize this, and as a result have slowed down their push for a new stadium until after the budget crisis has been resolved, according to Sid Hartman of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. There's no question that it would be incredibly bad form for the team to continue pushing for a stadium during a time when government employees are not working and with people are having their day-to-day lives affected by lack of services.

Also, one of the rumors that we reported on yesterday turned out to not be true, according to Hartman.

The source also said the cost of the stadium, as figured by Mortenson Construction, is still at $1 billion, not $800 million. While the Wilf family has agreed to furnish the $407 million they originally agreed to contribute, plus additional money they pledged in a recent meeting with the governor, there has been no agreement on spending less than $1 billion on the stadium. But this is something that could be negotiated.

So, there's no change on that front. Apparently the stadium would still have a retractable roof on it and not (possibly) be an outdoor stadium as we speculated over at The Daily Norseman.

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Minnesota Vikings Stadium: Deal Reportedly Getting Closer

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune is reporting that a deal on a proposed Minnesota Vikings stadium on the site of the old Twin Cities Army Ammunition dump is coming closer to fruition.

The most intriguing part of the story, in my opinion, is this:

Sources reported Wednesday that stadium negotiators had dropped the cost of the $1 billion proposed project by nearly $200 million, the Vikings had upped their contribution from $407 million and the state, Ramsey County and the team had resolved who would own and operate the stadium in suburban Arden Hills.

The cost has magically gone down by $200 million? Strange. . .that's about what it would cost to put a roof on a new stadium. While I think it's unlikely that the new Vikings' stadium would be built without a roof of some sort, since that would significantly limit its use, I am intrigued to find out how, exactly, the price went from around $1 billion to closer to $800 million.

In any case, it appears that something is finally going to get done and be ready to present to a special session of the Minnesota legislature, whenever that special session takes place. Considering that the entire government will shut down on Friday if a budget deal isn't reached, one would think that it would have to be sometime soon.

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Minnesota Vikings Stadium: Zygi Wilf Meets With Los Angeles Stadium Developers

Well, this is interesting.

Apparently Zygi Wilf and company have met with AEG, the company that has proposed the new (hypothetical) football stadium in Los Angeles. Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press mentioned the meeting briefly in his "Don't Print That" section of his most recent column, and the meeting was confirmed by the Vikings earlier today.

Now, the mention of "Los Angeles" and "Vikings" in concurrence with one another should be enough to make Viking fans leery, but just how leery depends largely upon your level of pessimism/optimism and/or who you choose to believe.

If you believe the Vikings, they were simply meeting with the folks from AEG to sort of "pick their brains" over their concept for "L.A. Live," the $2.5 billion entertainment complex that is going to include that Los Angeles stadium, and definitely not about moving the team to Los Angeles.

Folks like Mike Florio at Pro Football Talk, on the other hand, see this as a sign that the odds of the Vikings moving to Los Angeles after their lease with the Metrodome expires after this season are increasing.

Personally, I still think that the Arden Hills deal is going to get done here at some point, and all of this talk of Los Angeles is going to end up looking really silly eventually, but for now people will continue to speculate in both the positive and the negative until something concrete happens.

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Minnesota Vikings Stadium: Does Limbaugh Want A Piece Of The Vikings?

It may be something, it may be nothing. . .but conservative political pundit Rush Limbaugh had former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty on his radio program today (as Pawlenty has announced his intentions to run for the Presidency), and the subject of the Vikings came up.

According to the transcript of the show on Limbaugh's website, Limbaugh asked Pawlenty how much of the new Vikings' stadium he thought should be financed by the public. Pawlenty then said to Limbaugh. . .and this is the direct quote. . ."The rumor is you're gonna buy 'em and move 'em. Is that true?" Limbaugh then dodged the question, saying that the interview was about Pawlenty, and that was pretty much the end of things.

If you'll recall, Limbaugh was part of a group that was attempting to purchase the St. Louis Rams in 2009, along with St. Louis Blues' owner Dave Checketts. There were objections to his involvement, even though he was only going to be a limited partner, but he was eventually dropped from the group.

As I said, it's not really clear how much smoke there is attached to this fire, or if there's even any fire at all. But with a personality as big as Limbaugh's, there's going to be coverage of it regardless of how serious things actually are. If there is any further development to this story, you can bet we'll have it here.

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Minnesota Vikings Stadium: Team Will Have To Wait For Special Session

Today was the final day of the 2011 Minnesota legislative session. . .and, as you can probably gather from the lack of celebration and excitement around these parts, the legislature did not hear the Vikings' stadium bill before they shut down, meaning that the team will have to wait for a special session in order to get their bill heard and (hopefully) passed.

There will definitely be a special session of the legislature, as there was no budget agreed upon in the regular session, either, and something needs to be done before July to prevent the state government from completely shutting down. Because of that, one would think that this special session would come sooner rather than later.

The Vikings have basically ignored the overtures from Minneapolis to do a "Retrodome" stadium on the site of the current Metrodome, and have started focusing their efforts on the location of the former Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant in Arden Hills. The team and Ramsey County signed an agreement a few weeks ago that would fund a little more than 70% of the estimated $1 billion cost of the project, satisfying the state's demand that they find a local partner to help share in the financial burden for the project.

We will continue to monitor the stadium story for any new developments, and bring those developments to you as soon as we are able.

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Minnesota Vikings Stadium: Minnesota DoT Lowers Estimate For Road Repair Costs

In a pretty positive bit of news for the Minnesota Vikings' potential stadium bill, the Minnesota Department of Transportation lowered the cost estimates for the road repairs that would be needed around the site of the former Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant to enhance the site's ability to handle game day traffic.

The cost estimates originally came in at approximately $175 million. However, the cost estimates that were released today put those figures at $131 million, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Earlier this week, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell met with Governor Mark Dayton, and said that the National Football League would help to contribute to the construction of a Vikings' stadium. However, a specific figure was not released, and probably won't be until after the league settles their current labor dispute. The league used to have something called the "G3" program that would allow the league to help with stadium construction, but that fund ran dry in 2006 after they gave money to help with the construction of the New Meadowlands in New Jersey for the New York Jets and the New York Giants. There is no word yet whether or not the G3 program would be reborn under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, or whether the NFL would use another means to make that happen.

It's not entirely clear at this point whether the NFL's contribution was figured in to the $407 million that the Vikings have pledged towards the project, or if it would be separate. One would think that, without an actual dollar figure on the NFL's contribution, it would be tougher to factor that in.

We will continue to cover the Minnesota Vikings' stadium quest here at SB Nation Minnesota when there are new developments.

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Minnesota Vikings Stadium: Vikings Detail Agreement With Ramsey County

The Minnesota Vikings and Ramsey County have officially come to an agreement that would finance a stadium at the site of the former Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant in Arden Hills. The team held a press conference on Tuesday with Ramsey County officials to announce the specifics of the deal.

The total cost of the project will come to $1.057 billion dollars, $884 million of which would be for the stadium itself. The Vikings would be responsible for $407 million of that cost, or approximately 44% of the entire project. Ramsey County will contribute $350 million, which it will do by implementing a half-cent sales tax increase. That will leave the state to contribute approximately $300 million, which Governor Mark Dayton said was the largest amount that he could support the state contributing to a stadium project.

The fate of the Vikings' stadium is now in the hands of the state legislature. The current legislative session has 12 days remaining, and it remains to be seen whether or not the bill can get pushed through and passed during that time.

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Minnesota Vikings Stadium: Vikings Having 3 PM Press Conference With Ramsey County

A deal between the Minnesota Vikings and Ramsey County on financing for a new NFL stadium on the site of the Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant is "imminent," and the team will be holding a press conference with the folks from Ramsey County at 3 PM Central time this afternoon.

Among those in attendance at the press conference will be Vikings' owners Zygi and Mark Wilf. . .significant because the team had no representation at the presser held by the City of Minneapolis yesterday. . .Vikings' coach Leslie Frazier, legendary former Vikings' head coach Bud Grant, legendary former defensive end Jim Marshall, and Ramsey County Commissioners Tony Bennett and Rafael Ortega.

The press conference will be held at the Ramsey County Public Works Facility, which is located at 1425 Paul Kirkwold Drive in St. Paul. No word as of yet as to whether or not the press conference will be streamed online or not, but if it is, there will be something up about it at The Daily Norseman, similar to what was posted for yesterday's Minneapolis press conference.

It appears that the team is finally on the urge of getting something done after years of frustration of trying to get a stadium deal in place. Let's see what the team and Ramsey County have to say about the matter.

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Minnesota Vikings Stadium: Minneapolis Produces A Plan

Just days after Ramsey County announced that they were very close to a deal with the Minnesota Vikings to bring the team's proposed new stadium to the site of the old Army Ammunition Plant in Arden Hills and the Farmer's Market site near Target Field took themselves out of consideration, it sounds like the city of Minneapolis might want in on the action after all.

According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the city of Minneapolis will announce a proposal today to build a new Vikings' stadium on the site where the Metrodome currently sits, and says that the city will pick up 25% of the cost. This comes with just two weeks left in the 2011 Minnesota Legislative Session.

The Star-Tribune is reporting that the plan would use sales taxes from the city's convention center, and would also provide money for renovations to the Target Center, the home of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

On Friday, Zygi Wilf met with representatives from Ramsey County, as well as with Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and City Council Chair Barb Johnson.

Lester Bagley, the Vikings' vice president for stadium development and public affairs, has said that the team is weighing both the Minneapolis and Ramsey County proposals. Last week, Ted Mondale of the Minneapolis Sports Facilities Commission, stated that the Vikings were pursuing the deal with an understanding that they would have to increase their contribution to the project to forty percent of the total cost, a cost that is currently estimated at around $900 million.

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Minnesota Vikings Stadium: Vikings Set To Increase Their Contribution?

Thus far, the plan for a new Minnesota Vikings' stadium has been thought to be the team paying one-third of the cost of the new stadium, the state of Minnesota paying one-third, and an (as of now) unknown local partner paying one-third. However, if yesterday's meetings are any indicator, it sounds like the Vikings might be willing to increase their share of the burden in order to get something worked out.

The team would neither confirm nor deny the potential increase to their contribution when they were asked about it yesterday, but Ted Mondale, the head of the Minneapolis Sports Facilities Commission, made an overture yesterday to that effect.

"The number's going to be a lot higher than people have thought," Mondale said of the Vikings' contribution. "It's somewhere in the 40s -- 40 percent.

"They know that's where they need to be to make it work," he added. "So, they've been running around town for the last three days [and] they appear to be" accepting that the Vikings need to pay far more than a third of the project in order to partner with both the state and either Minneapolis or Ramsey County.

Yes, Minneapolis still appears to be in the game at this point, even though Ramsey County has been much better organized and has put themselves "very, very close" to a deal with the team, as we reported to you earlier on.

If you'll recall, a few years ago the Vikings were "very close" to a deal with the folks in Anoka County to build a stadium in the Blaine area, but continued to flirt with the city of Minneapolis to the point where Anoka County pulled their deal off of the table. Certainly, Zygi Wilf wouldn't allow history to repeat itself on this stadium deal.

Would he?

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Minnesota Vikings Stadium: Vikings Getting Closer To Deal With Ramsey County

The St. Paul Pioneer Press is reporting that Ramsey County officials have declared that they are "very, very close" to reaching a deal with the Minnesota Vikings to build their new stadium at the site of the Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant in Arden Hills.

"We are very, very close to coming to a full proposal with the Vikings," said Ramsey County Commissioner Rafael Ortega, one of two commissioners who has been in talks with the team for months. "We have a few i's to dot and t's to cross. The big nut to crack, so to speak, is the transportation issue."

When Ortega mentions the "transportation issue," they're referring to interchanges, intersections, and roads around the site of the old ammunition plant at Interstate 35W and U.S. 10.

When this process originally got underway, Ramsey County was considered a bit of a long shot to get the stadium at their site. Now, with Mike Opat having pulled Hennepin County's support for the Farmer's Market location and the folks that want something done on the site of the Metrodome not having anything remotely resembling a financing proposal together, the old Army Ammunition Plant site now has to be considered the favorite.

With the current session of the legislature set to adjourn on May 23, the sooner the Vikings can get something completed with Ramsey County, the better their odds of getting this stadium bill pushed through the legislature during this session.

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Minnesota Vikings Stadium: Hennepin County Will Not Pursue Stadium

And then there were two.

Hennepin County Board Chair Mike Opat wrote a letter to Governor Mark Dayton, stating that Hennepin County. . .who was championing a stadium site in the "Farmer's Market" district of Minneapolis near Target Field. . .saying that Hennepin County would not be the Vikings' local partner in their pursuit of a new stadium for the team.

"My pursuit of an agreement with the Vikings to present to my colleagues, yourself and legislative leaders will not continue at this time," Opat wrote Gov. Mark Dayton in a letter delivered Thursday.

As Opat was the man championing the Farmer's Market location, that spot is now out of the discussion, for all intents and purposes. This means that there are only two sites that are now under serious consideration for the new Vikings' stadium as things stand right now.

One of these is the Ramsey County site that encompasses what used to be the old Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant, a site that has laid vacant for a long time now. Ramsey County appears to be stepping up their efforts to get something done with the Vikings, but nothing has been finalized yet.

The other site is the current site of the Metrodome downtown. However, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak has all but said that the city can't afford to get involved in supporting a stadium financially, and now that Hennepin County has shown no interest in getting involved, that site could well be dead in the water as well.

The current session of the Minnesota legislature closes up shop on May 27. If the lack of a local partner is what might keep things from getting done, it looks like the options are getting narrowed down.

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Minnesota Vikings Stadium: Ramsey County Getting Closer To Deal

Ramsey County officials said today that they are "edging closer" to a deal that would see the Minnesota Vikings build a brand new football stadium on the site of the old Army Ammunition plant in Arden Hills, according to a report from Minnesota Public Radio.

Earlier this year, the county voted to begin negotiations with the Vikings about being the team's local partner in a three-way deal for the stadium with the team and the state. Ramsey County Commissioner Tony Bennett said that he thinks the talks have been fruitful, even though there is not a formal proposal in writing yet.

"We've made a lot of progress. We've talked over a lot of their concerns and our concerns, and we've reached agreement on a lot of those areas," Bennett said.

The other sites that are in contention for the stadium are the site that the Metrodome currently sits on, and the Farmer's Market district of Minneapolis near Target Field. Unfortunately for the city of Minneapolis, mayor R.T. Rybak has stated, in so many words, that the city of Minneapolis is broke and can't contribute anything to a new stadium.

With that being the case, if the Vikings want to get anything done in this legislative session. . .the last legislative session before the team's lease with the Metrodome expires. . .they might want to get a little more serious with Arden Hills and get something done so that the state can get their end of the deal done before the legislature closes in about three weeks.

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Minnesota Vikings Stadium: League Had To Ensure Vikings Had Pre-Season Opponents

According to the good folks at Pro Football Talk, the National Football League had to step in and mandate that a team travel to play the Vikings in a pre-season game at the Metrodome this season.

It has not yet been revealed who that team was. . .the NFL schedule generally gets revealed the week of the draft, if my memory serves me correctly. . .but here's what Lester Bagley, the Vikings' Vice President of Public Affairs and Stadium Development, had to say about the matter on PFT Live.

"We couldn’t even get a preseason game scheduled this year," Bagley said.  "We could not get a partner and the league had to step in and help us get a preseason game scheduled because of that facility. . . . [T]he facility is no longer viable and we’ve got to resolve the issue."

Can't say I blame them, really. . .would you want to take your team to a building where the freaking roof just collapsed and the repairs are scheduled to be completed a few days before football is supposed to be played there?

Does anyone still doubt that a stadium needs to get done in Minnesota?

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Minnesota Vikings Stadium: Potential Local Partners

One of the potential issues with the current Vikings' stadium legislation is that there isn't currently a local partner that is attached to the bill. As it stands now, there are three sites that are potentially in play for the stadium, and each of them has their advantages and their drawbacks. Let's take a look at those three locations.

The first location that has been discussed is an area to the west of Target Field in Minneapolis. This plan is being championed by Hennepin County Board Chairman Mike Opat. The problem with this plan is that a lot of things would have to be relocated, which could end up getting expensive, and Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak is not in favor of building at that particular location.

Rybak's plan involves tearing down the Metrodome and building a new stadium on or near that site. However, since Hennepin County is championing the site near Target Field that I just mentioned, they're not supporting this one, and Rybak himself has said that the city of Minneapolis can't afford to help out in that scenario, either. In addition, this would likely force the Vikings to play at TCF Bank Stadium during construction. . .and, as we learned when the Vikings played the Chicago Bears at that location during the 2010 season, it holds about 10,000 people less than the Metrodome and really isn't equipped for playing football after the month of November.

The last site is the location of the former Twin Cities Ammunition Play near Arden Hills at the intersection of U.S. Highway 10 and Interstate 35W. Talks have been going on between the team and Ramsey County for quite a while now, but nobody is sure how much progress those talks have made.

In my opinion. . .and I'll preface this by saying that I'm no expert or anything. . .but I think that the Vikings should stop screwing around and work something out with the people of Ramsey County and get something done at the Arden Hills location. The Vikings have done this dance before with Anoka County, attempting to use them as leverage to get something done within the city of Minneapolis itself, and once Anoka County realized what was going on, they told the Vikings to bugger off and took their deal. . .which was a very good one, by all accounts. . .off of the table.

At this stage of the game, Arden Hills has actually made some advances towards getting something done, something that we can't say for anywhere in Minneapolis proper. If R.T. Rybak and Minneapolis are content to lollygag on something like this and not get anything done, Zygi Wilf and company do not have the time to stand around twiddling their thumbs until they decide to get moving. If the Vikings are simply trying to use Arden Hills as leverage, they're going to find themselves standing at the altar once again. . .or, worse still, finding themselves eloping to Los Angeles or some other location to get themselves hitched to some hussy.

(Does anyone still use the word "hussy?" If they don't, they should.)

When it comes to the Minnesota Vikings' stadium situation, in the words of latter-day American philosopher Frank Drebin, it's fourth-and-15 and the Vikings are looking at a full court press. The time to get this done is now, and hopefully that's what we will see.

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