The Big Story Blog

Vikings stadium: The end game?

Posted at 8:00 AM on October 12, 2011 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Sport

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(Reality? Dream? Something in between?)

After more than a decade of dusty architectural renderings, plans that go nowhere and endless debates over coddling billionaires, we may be close to some kind of end game on the Vikings stadium debate.

Of course, it may not be the end you want.

We'll be chasing news and insight on the Vikings stadium plans all day today. We'll add your voices and questions to the mix. Post your comments or drop us a line directly.

Here are three things we know this morning.

'Aggressive, unrealistic'. That's the assessment of a feasibility study on the proposed stadium site at Arden Hills. The report is scheduled for official release today. MPR News reporters Madeleine Baran and Tom Scheck got a copy last night .

The analysis found that the plan to open the new stadium in Arden Hills for the 2015 season was unrealistic. "An opening in 2016 is more realistic and in a worst case scenario, 2017," the report said.

A one-year delay would add an estimated $46 million, the report says. A two-year delay could cost $92 million, the report said.

The report also identified $39 million in unfunded costs for the new stadium. The stadium proposal is estimated to cost $1.111 billion.

No public vote.If the Met Council report was a possible setback for the Vikings, the team caught a break late last night when Ramsey County leaders voted against a plan to put a Vikings stadium sales tax on the ballot in 2012. The Vikings had blasted the idea, saying "neither the taxpayers nor the team can afford such a major delay caused by adding this referendum provision."

Public approval in a referendum would be a tough sell in one of the worst economies in decades.

The team continues to make economic and emotional arguments for the stadium.

"The fundatmental issue is we want to have an NFL team in this market," Vikings vice president Lester Bagley told MPR News Tuesday. "More than half of the people in this state follow this team every Sunday. Viking football is hugely important to this state...and the Metrodome is out of gas...This is a publicly owned facility that would be used by everyone. It's not a Vikings stadium..."

Press the play button below to listen to Bagley's comments.

L.A. looming? Vikings owners have said repeatedly the team isn't moving. But Los Angeles is sure making itself look pretty.

The L.A. Times reports that the Southern California real estate magnate leading the charge for a new football stadium has sweetened his offer, dropping his demand for no-cash minority share of a franchise that chooses to come play and is "offering to hand over the 600 acres he controls to any team that relocates there."

So how does it end? Does a report questioning the site effectively kill the Arden Hills plan? Anything waiting in the wings? What happens? What should happen?

We'll be running with this story. Join in.


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.