Vikings stadium deal has hurdles to clear

The Vikings' stadium deal with Ramsey County is being examined from every angle. With 10 days until the legislative session ends, it is still far from a certainty.

With the clock ticking down on the 2011 Legislative session – 10 days and dwindling – it would seem that the scattergun blasts from all sides are coming at frantic speed, as Ramsey County tries to lock down a stadium deal and Minneapolis tries firing off its final salvos to the governor to consider their less-attractive local-participation option.

The Ramsey County Board of Commissioners have the required votes to take care of the county's share of the proposed cost, but, after remaining ominously silent about the project until Thursday, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said he isn't convinced that he can support the plan. As the largest city in the county, Coleman has the right to have his voice heard. But, considering how much the Xcel Energy Center has revitalized what was a dead West Seventh Street district of the city, perhaps he can eventually be persuaded to offer his support to a rationale stadium plan.

The big wigs in the Minneapolis business community fired off a letter to Gov. Mark Dayton claiming that constructing a stadium site on the current Metrodome property remains the most feasible option. As has become part of the mantra, the figure of an additional $175 million for road infrastructure in the Ramsey County deal has been pointed out.

It should be noted that the Crosstown Highway/35W intersection of high-speed traffic cost $288 million – a much higher figure than the projected future cost of the worst-case infrastructure numbers for the Arden Hills site, and it's a number that some have speculated is an inflated figure given that the Vikings would play on Sundays and most weekday events would happen at night during low traffic periods.

One of Thursday's noteworthy events was the discussion of potentially tentatively approving a stadium deal during this session with details still be hammered out in the coming months. While an uncommon practice to say the least, it would likely render any decision approving a stadium with a huge asterisk next to it. It's hard to imagine the state would approve a bill that was so significantly open-ended if arguments remain.

As throughout the conflict between Minnesota's two largest counties for a stadium in their respective jurisdictions, the numbers being floated out tend to depend on who is being referenced. It can only be assumed that, unless Minneapolis makes its proposal a take it-or-leave it proposition, the rhetoric is only going to ramp up higher in the coming days.

If so many people would have been as psyched up about being a stadium host last year, it could have been a done deal by now.

FRIDAY NOTES

  • Players in a Minneapolis courtroom under Judge David Doty are asking for $707 million – the 57.5 percent share of the cost split between owners and players when the current collective bargaining agreement expired. The league was scheduled to be paid $1.22 billion as part of its 2011 television contract with broadcast networks whether the season played in full, in part or not at all.

  • Mediation sessions that were postponed a month ago are scheduled to restart Monday.

  • For those who would be interested, Major League Soccer confirmed Thursday that the ownership group of the Vikings has contacted the league about an MLS expansion franchise in the Twin Cities.

  • The healing process between the Packers and Brett Favre is going to take some time, but progress continues. Packers CEO Mark Murphy said this week that the Packers will eventually retire Brett Favre's number 4, but that it might take a couple of years to let the bitterness that existed with fans (and management) to subside, and it might take that long for people to be convinced that Favre is really retired. However, expect to see a conciliation before Favre goes into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot.


  • Viking Update Top Stories

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  • Players in a Minneapolis courtroom under Judge David Doty are asking for $707 million – the 57.5 percent share of the cost split between owners and players when the current collective bargaining agreement expired. The league was scheduled to be paid $1.22 billion as part of its 2011 television contract with broadcast networks whether the season played in full, in part or not at all.
  • Mediation sessions that were postponed a month ago are scheduled to restart Monday.
  • For those who would be interested, Major League Soccer confirmed Thursday that the ownership group of the Vikings has contacted the league about an MLS expansion franchise in the Twin Cities.
  • The healing process between the Packers and Brett Favre is going to take some time, but progress continues. Packers CEO Mark Murphy said this week that the Packers will eventually retire Brett Favre's number 4, but that it might take a couple of years to let the bitterness that existed with fans (and management) to subside, and it might take that long for people to be convinced that Favre is really retired. However, expect to see a conciliation before Favre goes into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot.
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