The Big Story Blog

3 things learned on the Vikings stadium debate

Posted at 4:46 PM on October 18, 2011 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Politics, Sport

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It's fun to talk football, Vikings and who should start at quarterback Sunday against the Packers.

It's decidedly less fun to talk about votes, financing packages and who should pay for a new stadium. But that's what drove the news today.

From Gov. Mark Dayton's MPR News interview at 7:15 am to late afternoon huddles with politicians and NFL officials, here are some of the things we learned today about the politics and policy in pursuit of a new Vikings stadium.

1.) Pressure's on. After meeting with Dayton, the NFL made it clear late this afternoon that Minnesotans need to make a decision about the Vikings' future. NFL executive Eric Grubman told reporters the NFL would kick in up to $150 million for a new stadium but that the NFL remained wary of a political stalemate and that the Vikings would explore "every alternative" for a place to play next year should the stadium deal fall through.

The threats are no longer veiled.

2.) Gambling may be getting a serious look. The idea of widening the state's role in gambling to pay for a stadium and lots of other stuff has been around awhile. But it seems to be gaining some traction. Dayton continues to talk about being flexible on revenue options, including gaming, and today specifically mentioned a casino in the Block E development in Minneapolis.

MPR news reporter Tim Nelson tweets that Dayton on Wednesday will be meeting with Ramsey County and Vikings officials -- and Block E developer Bob Lux.

Gov. Dayton also meeting with Block E developer Bob Lux tomorrow, in addition to Vikings and Ramsey County.
Oct 18 via Twitter for AndroidFavoriteRetweetReply

Seems like easy money. But it will certainly face a fight from lawmakers philosophically opposed to expanding the state's role in gambling and from Minnesota's Indian casinos, which have effectively fought off past attempts by lawmakers to expand non-Indian gambling.

3.) Don't bet the farm on Arden Hills. Like guests at a wedding who expect the groom to bolt at the last minute and run to an old girlfriend, the notion that the Vikings will jilt Arden Hills and run back to Minneapolis just won't go away.

Dayton added some fuel to that Tuesday afternoon, saying that the Farmers Market site near Target Field in Minneapolis remains 'default option B' for the Vikings -- oh, and it would cost the Vikes about $100 million less than Arden Hills.

You could buy a decent quarterback with that kind of cash.

Learn anything today about the Vikings or a stadium push that we missed? Post something below or contact us directly.


About Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto writes the Big Story Blog for MPR News. He joined the newsroom in 2008 after more than 20 years reporting on education, politics and the economy for news wires and newspapers across the country.