Rybak said that the city would like to see a statewide sales tax for a new Vikings stadium that would also envision renovations to Target Center, which is owned by the city, as well as property tax relief for the city. The proposal smells a lot like the same one Rybak floated out in May, which was summarily rejected by the Vikings, since the proposal would raise about $200 million for a Vikings stadium and $100 million for Target Center renovations – which have never been part of the stadium discussion.
Rybak said that the city feels strongly that the Vikings should remain in Minnesota, claiming the city has "stood back quietly for the past six months and been supportive of the Wilfs' favorite site" in Arden Hills. Rybak added that the city has three "great options that are all more viable" than the Arden Hills site.
One of those three great options is the current Metrodome site, which has already been rejected by the Wilfs.
It has been amazing that the Vikings have pushed for a stadium since 1998 and everyone – from the state to the City of Minneapolis – did nothing and placed a series of hurdles in front of the Vikings to dodge their commitment to a stadium. At one point earlier this year, Rybak said Minneapolis wouldn't be part of a partnership because of Hennepin County's previous commitment to funding a Twins stadium.
It would seem like a "too little, too late" argument, but all the latest proposal seems to accomplish is creating more opposition to the Arden Hills stadium proposal. The simple fact of the matter is that the state told the Vikings they needed to find a local partner to limit the state's contribution to a new stadium. They did. It wasn't Minneapolis. Instead of moving on, the City of Minneapolis has consistently attempted to undermine the Arden Hills project.
Sour grapes? Maybe, but it would appear that if the goal is to keep the Vikings in Minnesota, Rybak and the City of Minneapolis should back off. It had 14 years to come up with a new stadium proposal, but didn't put a package together until the Vikings had struck a deal with Ramsey County. All this last-minute push has done is made passage of a stadium proposal by the State Legislature even more difficult. If Rybak is true to his word, the city should back away from the table and let those that actually worked to get a deal done have the opportunity to see it come to fruition.
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.