Fifth Vikings stadium option emerges

Suddenly, there is competition for the site of a potential new Vikings stadium. But are the late-to-the-party entrants doing the issue more harm than good?

Coming out of a season that could best be described as a soap opera – complete with unexpected twists, turns and improbable occurrences happening on a weekly basis – it would seem there is some carryover into the early part of 2011. A couple of months ago, you couldn't get a stadium deal with any teeth. Now, suddenly, there is competition.

Ted Mondale, the head of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, spoke at a commercial real estate forum in Bloomington Tuesday and, when asked by reporters about the stadium question, said a fifth option could be in play for the stadium debate – one that has been in serious discussion before.

The land in question is a property that appeared like a frontrunner four years ago – a land parcel adjacent to the current Metrodome site owned by the Star-Tribune newspaper. The Vikings had an agreement in principle to buy the property in 2007, but backed out when the economic climate took a downturn and the bond market became too volatile.

The property near the Metrodome is one of five options that have been discussed during the stadium process at the State Legislature as a potential landing spot for the team. The abandoned Arden Hills ammunition plant in Ramsey County is currently getting the most attention. Other sites that have been looked into are the current Metrodome site, a piece of open real estate near Target Field in downtown Minneapolis and a parcel in Brooklyn Park owned by the Target Corp.

It would seem that the sudden competition for the stadium site selection could do more harm than good if it gets legislators off-point while something needs to be done during this Legislative session, or there may be a fracturing of support if multiple locations become part of the argument. Given the partisan politics that has become the norm in recent years, there could be some unanticipated in-fighting that could jeopardize a stadium bill. Maybe cooler heads will prevail, but the latest chapter in this ongoing saga isn't one that should be underestimated or ignored. It could be the eventual solution, or it could potentially torpedo the entire process.


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    John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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