We have written several stories over the last four months about the Minnesota Vikings and their quest for a new stadium. With the Vikings lease at the Metrodome expiring at the end of the upcoming 2011 season, and a new $1.5 billion NFL stadium being built in Los Angeles area, Vikings owner Zygi Wilf earlier this week looked to defuse the idea of the Vikings moving to LA.
Wilf told reporters at the Vikings’ training camp earlier this week that there was progress being made on a deal to build the Vikings a stadium in nearby Ramsey County.
“We’ve got momentum here in Arden Hills,” Wilf told reporters, referring to the team’s plans to build a nearly $1 billion stadium at a former munitions site located in the Minneapolis suburb. “We’re very confident that we will have something worked out in the near future and hopefully that it could be addressed in a special session. But we’re very confident in our location and for the future of the franchise in a new stadium up in Arden Hills.”
The funding for the new stadium is complex, with the Vikings ponying up $407 million and Ramsey County contributing $350 million via a half-cent increase in sales tax. The state of Minnesota would be then be responsible for the final $300 million.
The toughest part will be getting the state of Minnesota to justify spending $300 million on a football stadium in today’s financial climate. What the Vikings might end up doing is sign a series of one-year extensions with the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission until the new stadium issue is resolved. The problem with that, is that the longer the Vikings stadium issue is unresolved, the closer we get to 2016 when the LA stadium is expected to be completed. And when that happens, the temptation will be very strong for Wilf to bolt to LA and take the money that LA will offer.