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Vikings stadium plan clears first major hurdle ... finally

May 08, 2012|By Chuck Schilken
  • A Vikings fan makes a statement during a December 2010 game played outdoors at the University of Minnesota because of blizzard-inflicted damage at the aging Metrodome.
A Vikings fan makes a statement during a December 2010 game played outdoors… (Eric Miller / Reuters )

The Minnesota Vikings' stadium quest took an initial but significant step forward Monday when a financing proposal passed the state House. The next challenge comes Tuesday in the state Senate.

Monday's 73-58 House vote came after much debate. But it provided the first major victory in an attempt by the franchise to replace the aging Metrodome — and, very possibly, keep the Vikings in Minnesota — that started back in the mid-1990s.

“It was the first hurdle, a couple more to go,” Vikings Vice President Lester Bagley said after Monday night's vote,  the first of four needed before a plan reaches the governor.

Since the Vikings are no longer under a Metrodome lease, there has been plenty of concern among Vikings supporters that their beloved team might relocate after next season. After all, if Minnesota won't provide a new stadium, there are sure to be other cities out there that would — right, L.A.?

“This is your chance to prove you don't want the Vikings to leave,” Rep. John Kriesel, R-Cottage Grove, told his colleagues just before the vote.

Although Monday's vote is largely considered a victory for the Vikings, there is one troubling aspect for the team.  An amendment negotiated by lawmakers substantially raised the private contribution toward the new stadium, increasing the Vikings' share of the $975-million project to $532 million.

The team has said it wouldn't pay more than $427 million.

The state Senate is expected to vote on a different version of the bill Tuesday. If it passes, a conference committee will negotiate the differences in the two bills.

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Vikings stadium plan clears its first major hurdle ... finally

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