Vikes Like Dome Site

The Vikings were to bring a stadium proposal with Anoka County to the State Legislature for this session, but, with that deal having fallen through, the Vikings' new plan is to ask for a financial partnership to tear down the Metrodome and build a new stadium on the existing site.

The Vikings plan to keep playing at the Metrodome into the next decade … or at least at the same site as the Metrodome currently sits.

That was the tone of a letter sent to the State Legislature last month in lieu of a feasibility study that was expected this month between the Vikings and Anoka County for the Northern Lights Projects. Instead of the report, a two-page letter to the top legislators in the state was sent – asking that the Vikings get consideration for a stadium during this session without having a full schematic design with the City of Minneapolis and Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission completed.

The letter was sent to House Speaker Margaret Kelliher and Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller and left little in the way of doubt about the team's plans but just as little in the way of details about how the team plans to build a stadium downtown without a financial partner like it had in Anoka County. Vice President of Public Affairs and Stadium Development Lester Bagley authored the letter and said the team's plan is now to build downtown.

"The sole focus of the Vikings stadium development project is to keep the team in Minneapolis and build a new stadium on the Metrodome site as part of a broader redevelopment of the Downtown East area," Bagley said in the letter. "This is a development opportunity that Mr. Wilf has indicated an interest in being involved since first purchasing the Vikings in 2005. Indeed, he testified to his interest in investing in this part of Minneapolis at the State Legislature in 2006.

Bagley went on to say that the Vikings worked hard with Anoka County to complete a stadium complex in that area, but that "a number of factors have brought us full-circle." The Vikings' plan seems to be tearing down the Metrodome and building the new stadium on same site. That process would include waiting until the Twins move into their new stadium and spending one or two seasons playing at the University of Minnesota's new stadium.

The plan is sure to come under fire by anti-stadium advocates, who will point out that Anoka County left millions of partnership money on the table and that the Vikings rejected it. Bagley stated that the Vikings want to build on the progress that was made during the 2006 Legislative session and that Wilf is willing to invest millions in the Minnesota economy.

What if any reaction there will be from the Legislature will be forthcoming in the next weeks and months, but, as it stands now, the Vikings stand alone in their stadium effort and don't have a partner to take on some of the financial burdens that building a new stadium will entail. How they get off this step and on to something more promising is yet to be seen, but, as of now, the Vikings are still looking at the Metrodome as their home – whether in its current condition or a "new and improved" model.

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