Stadium Land Deal Off

The Vikings desperately want out of the Metrodome. But, claiming a volatile credit climate, the Vikings announced Wednesday that they are backing out of a proposed $45 million land purchase near the current Metrodome site.

One of the primary selling points the Vikings had with building a new downtown stadium was to purchase a large tract of land currently owned by the Star Tribune newspaper. That took an ugly turn Wednesday as the Vikings announced they have cancelled a plan to pay $45 million to the Star Tribune owners to purchase the property.

Team officials claim the poor economy and credit market for the decision not to move forward with the purchase, while at the same time expressing a commitment to build a new stadium on the Metrodome site and continuing talks to purchase adjoining land parcels.

With the Vikings already on the back-burner for funding in the eyes of many legislators, the one-two punch in August of the I-35W bridge collapse less than a mile from the Metrodome and the record-setting flooding in southern Minnesota has pushed stadium talk even farther down the list as the state house and senate meet in a special session in September.

While the Vikings remain publicly committed to keeping the team in Minnesota as well as exclusively looking at a downtown location for a new stadium, it has been clear since the day Red McCombs bought the team nine years ago that public financing will be required to get that done. Having a large piece of property like the Star Tribune land would have been a big step forward in that direction. Now it would appear the Vikings are back at square one … again.

* The Vikings and Twins would seem to be more competitors than co-tenants. The Twins personnel have been told they have to vacate their parking spots near the Metrodome by 3 p.m. today or have their vehicles towed away.
* The Twins may also have an effect on the traffic around Vikings game time. The team has scheduled its groundbreaking ceremony for its new stadium this afternoon, when many of the fans who will be coming to the Vikings-Cowboys game will be heading into the same downtown area.
* Despite being on the team for just a couple of days, the Vikings plan to let Kelly Holcomb see action tonight.
* While the Vikings won't see the majority of the Cowboys' top stars tonight, they will get their chance in less than two months to see all of them – the Vikes and Dallas meet again Oct. 21 with somewhat higher stakes.
* Tonight will be the first time the Vikings and Cowboys have played a preseason game at the Metrodome.

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