Vikings stadium bill set for introduction

The Vikings stadium bill is set to be introduced to the Minnesota Legislature Thursday morning. It should give politicians enough time to give an up or down vote in this legislative session.

The "real" Vikings stadium bill is starting to reach critical mass in St. Paul – not because of what the state will have to vote up or down, but that the bill itself has yet to be introduced. That will all change today. A 9 a.m. news conference is expected to provide the details of the Metrodome site plan that will be introduced to the State Legislature.

Squabbles with the Minneapolis City Council, which has yet to officially address its portion of the funding formula, has delayed moving forward with the Vikings in terms of signing off on the stadium plan. Issues ranging from insisting that minority contractor standards be assured for the stadium to the belief that the city, the largest in Hennepin County, is already funding the Twins Stadium as part of a countywide tax to fund Target Stadium all need to be addressed. There is also a lobby that wants to include renovations to Target Center, which has nothing to do with a Vikings stadium, but, because it is in the city, some are holding back on a Vikings deal to get a pet project approved without adding additional city tax burden.

Sen. Julie Rosen (R-Fairmont) said Wednesday that a deal is close to being completed and apparently the plan is ready to come forward today. It can't come too soon, since opponents are fueling speculation that, unless a bill came before them very soon, they won't give the plan a legitimate hearing during this session and, given that 2012 is an election year for almost every government official in the state, a special session in the fall when candidates are making speeches and kissing babies in Cowtown may not be met favorably.

The time has come – for better or worse – for the Metrodome-area stadium bill to come forward and let it ride or die on its own merits. If it's approved, the work begins. If it isn't, concerns about the end of days for the Minnesota Vikings will ramp up considerably.

THURSDAY NOTES

  • The Rams are allegedly getting enough interest in the No. 2 pick in the draft that speculation has begun they might get a deal done before free agency begins in less than two weeks. Cleveland remains the leader in the clubhouse with a clean one-year deal that would include their two first-round picks (Nos. 4 and 22) and mid-round toss-ins.

  • The Saints and Cardinals will play in this year's Hall of Fame Game Aug. 6 in Canton, Ohio. The Hall of Fame Game was the only game missed as the result of the lockout last year.


    John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.


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