Minnesota Vikings Stadium: Minneapolis Has Issues

Most of you probably looked at the title and said, "Yeah, we knew that already." But, in this case, I'm not talking about issues of the ego or the complex that makes them feel like a stadium can't possibly be built anywhere outside of the greater Minneapolis area.

No, in this case, I'm talking about issues that could actually derail the plan to use the Metrodome site to build a new stadium. In this case, it's not just one issue. . .it's two issues. And the combination of those issues explains why the Wilfs have continued to maintain that the site at Arden Hills is the only logical place to build a new Minnesota Vikings' stadium.

The first issue is that a lot of people seem to be on board with the Metrodome site being used to build a new stadium. . .unfortunately, that does not include the Minneapolis City Council. At least, not at the moment. Seven of the 13 members of the Council are against passing any sort of funding bill for the stadium. A requirement in the Minneapolis city charter requires that any stadium spending over $10 million needs to be put to a referendum, but Mayor R.T. Rybak seems to be of the impression that he can sway the Council to override that in order to get the job done.

Following the hearing, Rybak said "we're not going to do a referendum in the city. We are going to have a referendum in a couple years when I stand for re-election."

As for the seven council members now publicly opposed to his plan, Rybak did not believe their stances were that firm.

"I don’t think too many people are drawing exact lines yet. And so that’s a good thing," Rybak said.

Now, that's all well and good and everything. . .I mean, Rybak isn't going to come out and say, "Well, it looks like we're pretty much screwed on this one." However, as the folks at Pro Football Talk point out, getting the Council to waive the referendum for this would pretty much render a rule that require that anything be put to a referendum pretty much null and void as long as the government can do an end run around the rules. In this case, Rybak's plan seems to be to deposit city sales tax revenues into an "independent stadium authority," who would then be in charge of spending the money.

However, even if the Minneapolis City Council does decide to waive the referendum requirement for this sort of thing so that a new stadium can be built on the Metrodome site, it appears that the National Football League has noticed a little something that we've pointed out numerous times already.

The NFL is annoyed with the idea of the Minnesota Vikings playing up to three seasons at TCF Bank Stadium. There is the $67 million financial hit, not to mention potential logistical nightmares while waiting for Metrodome 2.0.

And league owners still would have to sign off on this concept before the Vikings play a single down at the University of Minnesota.

"I can tell you there won't be a lot of happy campers among the membership (owners)," said a person close to the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of stadium negotiations. "TCF is a gem, but it's not an NFL stadium."

We've heard numerous times that the Vikings are one of the teams that gets a bunch of money from the NFL's revenue sharing plan because of the crappy lease they have with the Minneapolis Sports Facilities Commission and the fact that opportunities for revenue are already limited. How do you suppose the other 31 NFL teams are going to feel about kicking in even more to cover the $23 million per year (on average) that the Vikings would be losing over the three-year stint they would spend at TCF Bank Stadium?

I mean, don't get me wrong. . .it isn't that the city of Minneapolis and the state of Minnesota don't realize that the Vikings are going to be losing a ton of money if they have to play at TCF Bank Stadium. It's that they simply don't give a damn.

Back on December 6, we mentioned a plan that came up during some of the hearings that took place at the Capitol regarding a Vikings' stadium that sounded too good to be true. That was the plan that involved the White Earth Ojibwa building a casino at the Arden Hills location. Seriously, if Zygi Wilf hasn't been on the phone with these folks yet, I'm not sure what, exactly, he's waiting for. Cut Minneapolis out of the equation entirely, get the stadium that the team wants at the site the Wilfs want it, and end all the drama surrounding this facility. It's a hell of a lot better idea than anything that anyone seems to want to seriously entertain at this point.

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