Zygi Wilf, ignoring report, is "very, very optimistic" about a new Vikings stadium
Zygi Wilf is very excited to be doing business with you, Minnesota.
Zygi Wilf, Minnesota Vikings owner and official mustache, knows business strategy. He also knows football bravado. Lesson one: Never show weakness. Even when you're out of leverage on a deal, or doctors have stapled your arm to your ribcage in the 4th quarter, you just slap your hands together and say, "I'm ready to roll!"
That's how Wilf is reacting to the newly released study of the Vikings Arden Hills stadium proposal, which describes the current plan as "aggressive" and "unrealistic," and finds that the stadium might come a year late and tens of millions of dollars over budget.
In a press conference yesterday, Wilf responded to the report's news not with a whimper, nor even a shrug. Instead, everything was all Go! Go! Go! and we'll see you in Arden Hills, and thanks for the $700 million, Minnesota.
"We feel very, very optimistic that this will get done," Wilf said.
The report, commissioned by Mark Dayton and conducted by the Metropolitan Council, did sort of a funny thing with the stadium's proposed cost. See, for the longest time, the Arden Hills plan was said to be for a "$1.1 billion" football stadium.
You can almost imagine it, can't you?
The Met Council's report was suddenly making mention of costs that could add up "$1.2 billion" -- or higher. Now, trapped behind that adorable little decimal place, this seems a minor discrepancy. But let's remember the difference between $1.1 billion and $1.2 billion, which gets a bit clearer when written out: $100,000,000. American dollars.
Or, put another way: It's enough to buy brand new Audi A6's for the first 2,000 season ticket holders for Vikings Audi A6 Giveaway Night.
Right, so it's actually a whole bunch.
Plus, the stadium might not be ready until 2016, rather than the original date of 2015. That's partly because it's going to take a little while to dig up all remnants and fallout from the old bombs that are underground at the stadium site, which used to be a munitions site and now is a wasteland.
But Zygi don't scare. In a rather impressive bit of confidence, Wilf told reporters that the Vikings were "encouraged" by the report, MPR reports.
"It beared out what we thought from day one," Wilf said. "That this site is ideal, and the costs that were both in the report and what we anticipated are close to being solvable."
Boy, now there's a phrase. "Close to being solvable." What it means, exactly, is now up to Mark Dayton and the legislature. Dayton gave an early stamp of approval yesterday, saying in a statement that he'd support the stadium so long as a detailed plan was in place.
"I have no current preference for the means to finance either the state's share or the local partner's share of the project," Dayton said, "except that no state tax revenues may be used, and the funds necessary to pay off any public debt must be both guaranteed and sufficient."
Dayton said he plans to meet with "Vikings owners, legislative leaders, local officials and other concerned parties."
Zygi Wilf qualifies for those meetings as a "Vikings owner." But he sure as hell ain't a "concerned party."
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