The Minnesota Vikings drew closer to the goal line in their quest for a new stadium Monday, with the Minnesota House of Representatives approving a bill for a publicly-subsidized project Monday.
Along the way, though, there was a material change in the legislation, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. The amount the Vikings and the NFL must pay for the nearly $1 billion stadium that would replace the Metrodome was increased from $427 million to $532 million, the kind of move that typically does not enchant owners or leagues.
That gap created by the fiscal austerity move will have to be reconciled or dealt with in some fashion, but, with fans chanting “build a stadium, save our team” outside the State Capitol, there was optimism that the Senate could pass the bill fairly quickly and send it to Gov. Mark Dayton for his signature by the end of the week. The change, which would lower the state’s share of the project to $293 million, may not survive further negotiations, according to the Star-Tribune.
“There’s time to work on it and get it fixed,” Lester Bagley, the team’s vice-president of public affairs and stadium development, told the Associated Press. “I don’t want to take away from the moment. It was a great day.”
Owner Zygi Wilf was committed to playing in the Metrodome for another year and had not issued threats about moving the team, but, the Star-Tribune notes that “Monday's vote was driven by a sense that the team would leave without a new, taxpayer-supported stadium. The surge to build the stadium, which had been hotly debated across Minnesota, seemed to gain its final momentum after the National Football League commissioner made a personal visit to the state Capitol last month.”
Still, don’t put on the hard hats and cut that purple ribbon just yet.
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