I think today brought fantastic news in that the Minnesota Vikings are as close as they've been to staying put and having a new facility that will help the entire state.  There are still some political obstacles to get over, but the momentum is positive.


After days of intense, closed-door meetings, DFL Gov. Mark Dayton and the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday morning announced an agreement for what the governor called, "a new people's stadium" in downtown Minneapolis.

The new $975 million stadium would be open by 2016, under the plan. The deal remains contingent upon legislative and Minneapolis City Council approval.

"Now the real work begins," Dayton said. He was accompanied by lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, Vikings owners and others who have been wrangling a deal for months.

Dayton asked the Legislature to act quickly and the Minneapolis City Council to "consider carefully what is at stake."

Dayton said the arrangement was "the best deal we could negotiate" but, as with most deals, made no one completely pleased. But he said, it was a deal that could work.

There are serious doubts about any Vikings stadium deal from both governing bodies. Backers said they would immediately start wooing lawmakers, who have said they cannot give any idea a specific vote until they got the plan.

According to the agreement, the Vikings would pay more than 50 percent of the construction and operating expenses. The state would contribute $398 million, the city of Minneapolis, $150 million, and the Vikings or other private sources, $427 million. The new stadium would be owned by a new stadium authority, which would have gubernatorial and city of Minneapolis appointees.

Rybak pitched the deal as a jobs bill that would put people to work and leading the city and state to greatness.

"We believe we have a compelling case to make," Rybak said. He said that the stadium deal could still allow city to spend some of its sales tax dollars on the Target Center, rather than having the tax end completely. The deal would redirect a portion of those tax dollars toward the stadium project and allow the city to control the rest.

Zygi Wilf, Vikings owner, said the deal is something he has been waiting for the entire seven years he has owned the team.

"This is an exciting day," Wilf said. He said the "dream of keeping the Vikings here" is closer to reality. "Here we are at the cusp of getting this done."

Ge complete stadium coverage via State contribution to new Vikings stadium: $398 million | StarTribune.com.

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