Dayton to Vikes: Metrodome site or bust
The train wreck that is the Vikings stadium drive went a little more off the rails Monday afternoon.
Governor Dayton told Zygi Wilf that the only workable site this session for a new stadium is the Metrodome, which happens to be the site least favored by Vikings ownership.
With the team's Metrodome lease expiring in just over a week and Vikings ownership "extremely frustrated with the situation" following yesterday's developments, we may soon have the opportunity to see if the team has indeed been bluffing about a rumored Los Angeles relocation.
During a news conference last Wednesday, Dayton ruled out the possibility of the Vikings building Zygi-land in Arden Hills and suggested the so-called Linden Avenue site near the Basilica was the leading contender.
But, less than a week before the start of the 2012 legislative session, it was probably already too late to sort out all the issues involved in building a stadium near the Basilica in time to get a stadium deal done this year. Father John Bauer of the Basilica raised concerns about "the level of activity" the stadium would generate in the area, making it more difficult "for those trying to come to the basilica for liturgies, concerts, community events, and outreach."
So, with lots of issues still unresolved and time running short, Dayton, on Monday, apparently felt compelled to come down the mountain, announce God's word on the Vikings stadium site, then head back up. And now the question is, what next?
The Metrodome site is still on the table, but the Vikings have two big problems with (re)building there: There isn't adequate space for tailgaiting, and the team would be forced to play at TCF Bank stadium while construction is ongoing. Playing at that too-small-for-NFL college stadium would require at least $50 million in renovations, the team has said, in addition to about $900 million for the new stadium on the Metrodome site.
Oh yeah, it's also still unclear exactly how much the Vikings are willing to chip in for a new stadium at the Metrodome. Apparently, years of discussion haven't produced much progress.
Zygy is reportedly flying to Minnesota to meet with Dayton tomorrow. Vikings Vice President Lester Bagley wouldn't say what the team intends to do about its frustration over yesterday's turn of events, but presumably we'll know a bit more after Zygi and Dayton get together.
Until then, things look pretty dire for Vikings Nation. Christopher Gates of the pro-stadium Daily Norseman has been following issue closely and wrote last night that he "can't help but think that this is not going to end favorably for our favorite football team." And while the stadium drive has pretty much consisted of a series of setbacks since the start, it now appears both Dayton and Wilf have scarce few negotiating chips left to work with.
-- Shakopee, out of nowhere, announces Vikings stadium bid
-- Vikings stadium: Minneapolis, Ramsey County release final funding proposals
-- Vikes stadium: Dayton asks city, Ramsey County to play hurry-up
-- Vikings warming to idea of staying in Minneapolis
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