Vikings stadium is on the path towards replacement with the passage of a stadium financing proposal in the Minnesota House. The NFL team is one step closer to its goal, but the House resolution deals yet another blow to the team’s aspirations.
Vikings stadium, the Metrodome, suffered a bout of infamy late in 2010 after a powerful snowstorm deposited between 17 and 21 inches of snow on its inflatable-Teflon roof before it collapsed. At the time, there was much debate over, the future of not only the aging dome but, the entirety of the stadium.
The House’s 73-58 decision Monday brings a hint of irony to Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission chairman Roy Terwilliger’s comments following the disaster. He stated at the time of the incident, “We’ve worked particularly close with the Vikings over the last two or three years on plans and designs and steps and obviously it can’t help but call attention to the fact that the facility is 28 years old. It’s one of the oldest facilities in the NFL. There’s a problem when we run this risk of not being able to play a game, because it’s a huge economic hit to the team. But the policymakers will handle these issues.”
Vikings owners have certainly taken an economic hit with the victory of the stadium financing proposal in the Minnesota House. In approving the proposal, lawmakers dramatically raised the required private contribution from the team‘s owners. The owners will face, in addition to the prior $427 million private investment, an added $105 million more towards the expected $975 million new stadium in downtown Minneapolis, an addition the team’s owners are not prepared to make. Ultimately the decision will rest with Minnesota lawmakers, as Terwilliger’s 2010 comments prophetically detail.
Vikings vice president Lester Bagley acknowledges that this political victory is only one of many before the plan can reach Gov. Mark Dayton, a supporter of the team’s desire for a new stadium. Bagley stated, “It was the first hurdle, a couple more to go.”
Monday’s vote was the first in a series of four needed before the plan would reach the governor. The team’s owners have been trying for a new stadium since the mid-1990s.