Next season will be the Minnesota Vikings' last in the 31-year-old Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, and fans of the purple and gold can look forward to blue lips and red cheeks as they shiver through two seasons of old-school, outdoor football.
Vikings vice president Lester Bagley said Friday that the team plans to play at the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium during the 2014 and 2015 seasons, while the team's new stadium gets built at the Metrodome site in downtown Minneapolis.
Team officials and the state authority overseeing construction convened at the dome Friday to finalize the deal for Minneapolis firm Mortenson Construction to earn $12.5 million to build the new stadium. That fee could reach $15 million if the firm meets performance incentives, but could be lowered if the construction lags. Mortenson also built the Minnesota Twins' Target Field, and TCF Bank Stadium on the university campus.
The Vikings had hoped to play only one season at the outdoor stadium, which is about a 10-minute drive from the Metrodome. The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority had looked into starting construction while the Metrodome still stood, but authority chair Michelle Kelm-Helgen said that proved too difficult.
Plans now call for the Metrodome to be torn down in February 2014 and for the new stadium to be ready to open by July 1, 2016.
"The Vikings are operating under the assumption that 2013 is our last season in the Metrodome," Bagley said. A spokesman for the University of Minnesota didn't immediately respond to a phone message Friday.
It won't be the Vikings' first time playing at the campus stadium. The team played the Chicago Bears there in a cold, snowy December 2010 game, a week after the Metrodome's snow-heavy roof collapsed during a blizzard. But those two seasons will be the team's first played outdoors since the Vikings abandoned Bloomington's Metropolitan Stadium at the end of the 1981 season.
The plan is for the new, $975 million to be enclosed. But Bagley said that Mortenson would help the Vikings build cost estimates for potentially including a retractable roof, wall or window, or some combination of those three.
"The Vikings are very interested in a retractable feature," Bagley said. He said a decision on that is likely within 90 days.
Mortenson's fee amounts to 1.7 percent of total construction costs. Senior Vice President John Wood said the company's initial bid to the authority was 1.95 percent.
Kelm-Helgen and Bagley said they were glad to be able to hire a Minnesota firm, but that Mortenson was competitive with the firms from other states that bid for the work. Mortenson said the project would generate 7,500 jobs for Minnesota construction workers; Kelm-Helgen said it would be "the largest construction project the state has ever seen."
Dallas-based HKS Architects is designing the stadium. Kelm-Helgen said an initial design would likely be released in March.
Mortenson selected for Vikings stadium
Scout Top Stories
Paterno Family Denies 1976 AllegationA beef between Penn State and an insurance company has led to serious accusations against the late coach. His family's attorney is taking a hard line on the matter.
Fight On StateYesterday at 10:29 PM
2016 Fantasy Football PrimerAre you ready for the 2016 Fantasy Football season? It can't come soon enough, right? This page is a hub where we both want to look forward towards 2016 but also look back at 2015.
Scout FantasyYesterday at 9:00 AM
A&M Coach's Twitter Rant Scares Off RecruitsIt was bad enough when the nation's top QB decommitted from the Aggies. Now, after assistant coach Aaron Moorehead's Twitter rant, other A&M might miss out on some other top…
ScoutYesterday at 6:49 AM
The 5 Strangest Fish Ever CaughtThe ocean is a vast, vast place...and it’s full of some of the strangest sea-creatures you can imagine. Here’s the five strangest fish that have ever been caught:
North American FishermanWednesday at 1:00 PM
Zim on Mo: ‘The feel-good story is over’German receiver Mortiz Boehringer made headlines when the Vikings selected him in the sixth round of last week’s NFL draft, but head coach Mike Zimmer wants the “feel-good” part of…
Viking Update11:25 AM