Vikings bump up stadium contribution again

The Vikings continue to pour more money into their stadium project, throwing in another $19.5 million.

At Friday’s meeting of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority it is expected that the Vikings are going to add another $19.5 million to the budget of the new stadium.

It will mark the ninth time in the last year that the Vikings have agreed to contribute more money to the stadium budget in order to add more amenities to the facility that will make it state of the art. In the original $975 million budget, the Vikings were scheduled to pay $477 million. Thanks to the most recent contribution bump, the Vikings’ end of the budget has reached more than $540 million and raised the overall budget to $1.06 billion.

The money is going to be used for several improvements, including enhancements to the stadium plaza, event-level space build-outs, food service equipment, additional retractable seating and a club-level deck that overlooks the Minneapolis skyline.

In a statement, Vikings President Mark Wilf said that that Vikings are committed to making improvements to the stadium to enhance that game day atmosphere for the fans.

“Our focus remains on providing a first-class experience to all our fans,” Wilf said. “When the process is over and we open up this building in 2016, we want to say we did what we could to ensure the best game day experience possible.”

Stadium opponents have consistently groused about the public contribution to the Vikings’ new digs, despite that the unfinished building has already secured the Super Bowl and the NCAA Final Four men’s basketball tournament, which is expected to generate revenue surpassing the state’s contribution to the new stadium. But the reality is that the Wilfs don’t want a typical stadium. They want a facility that will be a showpiece. It will be an iconic image on the Minneapolis skyline.

Had the Wilfs not thrown in an extra dime, the new stadium would be a showcase for other cities building a new facility to use as a blueprint. As it stands, the Wilfs’ insistence on not cutting corners or taking second-best is going to be something that makes the new Vikings stadium not only the newest of the NFL’s 32 homes, but this side of the Taj Ma Y’all down in Dallas, arguably the best facility on the planet.

  • You get the feeling that Mike Zimmer is having more of a hand on the decision-making process than was true under the Leslie Frazier administration when Rick Spielman got the general manager tag officially preceding his name. Prior to Zim coming on board, Spielman appeared to have a Logan’s Run approach – once you turn 30, the collar detonates. The signing of 37-year-old Terence Newman would appear to give the impression other voices are being heard in the war room when it comes to veteran offseason decisions.

  • Teddy Bridgewater will be available for autographs Saturday … if you’re in Louisville. He will be making a return to his college home at the Mid-America Trucking Show Saturday for a two-hour autograph session. It’s a give-back to his college home and his fans, who apparently knew what the rest of us didn’t a year ago.

  • Anyone who has been to Disneyworld knows that commemorative bricks are a way to immortalize a family member – even if it’s one Lego in a massive construction labyrinth. The Vikings are doing the same.

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