Will They Stay Or Will They Go? The Minnesota Vikings May Have A Friday Deadline For Stadium
Remember when the Minnesota North Stars left? The first thing the state did was put together a plan to get an NHL franchise back. If the Minnesota Vikings leave, that will happen again but there are no guarantees of the state getting another team nor would it be deserving of one if they lose the Vikings. The difference is right now the state and Vikings have an opportunity to work things out, if both sides sincerely want to. If they don’t I believe we’ll see the Minnesota Vikings move to L.A.
Minnesota Vikings owners and Gov. Mark Dayton emerged from a summitmeeting Tuesday pledging to try to plug by Friday a funding hole of up to $131 million in the team’s proposed new $1 billion Arden Hills home.
That hole appeared no smaller after Dayton reiterated that a plan offered Monday to address half the gap with state and local grants would count against the state’s pledge of $300 million for a new stadium.
“We’re committed to getting this project done if at all possible,” said Dayton, later adding, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
The governor convened the meeting of Ramsey County officials, team owners Mark and Zygi Wilf, legislative sponsors of a stadium bill and Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission Chair Ted Mondale. After two hours, all emerged from the closed-door meeting preaching optimism, but looking borderline grim.
“We have a lot of work ahead of us,” Zygi Wilf said.
Legislators have previously spoken of a Friday deadline, but it’s not clear whether it is firm. The idea is to get a bill ready, conduct “informational hearings” without votes next week and have the bill ready for action in a special session at the end of the month.
The potential caveat: Dayton and legislators haven’t reached a deal on the state budget. Layoff notices are going out to state employees. No one knows the timing for a deal or when the Legislature might return to session.
Participants said they made progress at Tuesday’s meeting, but no one provided specifics beyond their pledge to keep working to whittle down a financing gap of between $80 million and $131 million.
Asked if the Vikings would provide more than the $407 million they previously committed to the deal, Wilf said the team’s contribution already is substantial. Dayton reiterated the state’s limit of $300 million toward the stadium.
Ramsey County is expected to kick in $350 million by increasing the sales tax by a half-cent countywide.