Vikings Owner Speaks With Governor To Discuss Stadium

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — When Gov. Mark Dayton and state lawmakers announced that the outlines of a new budget deal were in place, the Minnesota Vikings were hoping that the door was finally open to discuss their plan for a new $1 billion stadium in the Twin Cities suburbs.

It may not be quite that simple.

Vikings owner Zygi Wilf spoke with Dayton on Friday, telling him in a phone conversation that the team wants a stadium bill to be considered in a special legislative session expected to begin next week, according to Vikings vice president for stadium affairs Lester Bagley.

“He made the case that now is the time,” Bagley said. “We’ve done everything that has been asked of us. It’s time to do it. We’re down to months left on our lease and every day that goes by, the cost of the project goes up.”

A spokeswoman for Dayton said, “The governor is focused on negotiating the final details of the budget at this point.”

The Vikings are in the final year of their lease at Mall of America Field, better known as the Metrodome. They have been trying for years to get a new facility that they say will allow them to remain competitive in the NFL and keep them in Minnesota for another generation.

Their effort was put on hold by a government shutdown as the Democratic governor sparred with Republican majorities in the House and Senate on how to resolve the state’s $5 billion deficit. On Thursday, they announced that the parameters of an agreement are in place, and Dayton could call a special session to vote on the deal as early as next week.

Wilf and the Vikings are pushing to be included in those talks after, of course, the budget issue is resolved.

“We understand that it’s a difficult environment and that people are tired and stressed out over the budget matters,” Bagley said. “We’re saying that we’re ready to sit down and work through the remaining issues.”

Several key lawmakers have indicated the team may have to wait for another special session in the fall.

“It hasn’t been part of the discussion and, frankly, the main focus in the next couple days is going to be to get these budget bills done,” Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch told Minnesota Public Radio.

The Vikings are putting the finishing touches on their plan, which calls for building a new stadium with a retractable roof in Arden Hills to replace the outdated Metrodome, which had its roof collapse during a heavy snowstorm in December. The roof was replaced and inflated this week, ensuring that the building will be ready for the 2011 season, but the Vikings are pushing for a new, state-of-the-art facility that will bring in more money.

Arden Hills is about 10 miles north of the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis. The new facility would be located at the site of a former Army ammunition plant with plans to open in spring 2015.

Wilf and the Vikings have pledged more than $400 million to the project, which also calls for a half-cent sales tax in Ramsey County that would contribute another $350 million and $300 million in state money.

For now, though, it is still unclear when the Vikings will get a chance to bring their proposal to the table for consideration.

“I think the governor had had a couple of meetings,” House Speaker Kurt Zellers told MPR. “For us, it’s about getting those bills passed that get the state running again.”

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

More from Pat Kessler
  • dj

    IF MN has to give the schools IOU’s and borrow against a future revenue stream , there is no money for a stadium. If the stadium is such a great investment let Zigi pay for it.

    • tailgunner

      Why…Polad didn’t pay for his………….

    • just an Average Minnesotan

      If the stadium were such a great investment then Warren Buffet would be telling every one to invest in stadiums. He would have stadiums in his Mutual Fund, and he would personally invest in stadiums.

      But He doesn’t.

      Why? Simply because a professional sports stadium in not a good investment. We don’t see the monied Minnesotans (you know, the top 2% the Governor wanted to tax) standing in line to invest their money in a stadium. Why not? again, if you ask them they will tell you, a stadium in not a financially sound investment.

      Zigi himself knows and understands this. He is willing to put up part of the money. But even he wants some one else to share the financial problems with. And you know when those financial problems get too big Zigi will bail and leave the other investors (taxpayers) with the sinking financial mess.

    • Everyone bend over

      Anything else you want, Ziggy?

    • Stadium Cost To Build Per Game

      1.3 Billion/ 30yrs * 1yr/ 8 games = 5.4 Million Per Game

      Are taxpayers Every going to recover this money?

  • Twins Fan

    OK, let me get this straight. We shut down the state gov because bully rePUKElacans refuse to compromise on a budget that would raise taxes on the spoiled. Now, you want a BILLION Gift on the democratic back for again the spoiled billionaire football industry? Less gov. would be a big fat no. We have build stadiums in the past under the lies of ‘it creates jobs”. Will the rePUKElacans also require the stadium to be build 100% non-union? I dare you. So the building will be on display for all of us when it falls apart in 7 years, and they can start whinning again for a new one! Their own lockout explains clearly the greed, let the league start building the stadiums if they are so profitable.

    • Sarah in Outstate MN

      Name calling is childish. You lose credibility when you do it. I agree with the rest of your post, but grow up.

    • Go out and buy yourself a brain.

      If you would take a minute to check your facts, it is Dayton that refuses to compromise, but then agian I wouldn;t expect a liberal to actually check facts.

      The dems are the ones pushing the stadium, just like they pushed the metrodome, and the Target center bailout. Funny the met stadium (built by the republicans) lasted 40+ years and made money, but the metrodome is “obsolete” after less than 15 years.

      No tax dollars for any stadium (oops, sorry, the democratic MN legislature already paid for Target field with our money). I would think that a business that pays their employees $100K/year or more could build themselves a building, but there I go thinking again.

      And yes, it should be built by union workers, so we can double the price and cut the quiltiy in half.

      • Sick of Partisan BS

        You have a horribly inaccurate view of past events. Target Field was paid for mostly by Hennipen County and construction started under a GOP gov. The current Vikings stadium bill is sponsored by Republicans in both houses. There is bipartisan support for a stadium by rational people who have a brain. This however is not the right time after what will become a 3 week shutdown to ask for a stadium bill.

      • v

        A Brain?
        Last time I checked ALL OF US are paying dearly (in lives and cash) for a war that was based on your Right Wing lies. Weapons of Mass Destruction? Imminent Threat? Saddam was involved? Mission Accomplished? How convenient for the Righties to forget. Maybe you ought to lose a relative in Iraq,or better yet, go get your legs blown off. That would remind you of the lies that matter. Oh.. and perhaps we should just hire Halliburton to build the stadium so your boy Cheney can cash in on that, too!
        You’re a typical GOP chump.

        • KeepItReal

          Are you referring to the war that was voted for by a DEMOCRAT led congress? Come on v a president can’t declare war? The same war the OBAMA said he would end sooner, but ended up extending beyond the Bush plan? The same OBAMA that escalated the war in Afgan? The same OBAMA that flexed more military might in the mid-east, support rebels who killed innocent people? Costing the tax payers and grandchildren billions of dollars of debt. The same OBAMA that cramed the largest unfunded social program down the throats of americans ever? The same OBAMA that extended the the worst economic recession in the history of the world? The same OBAMA who wants to extend the countries debt even higher instead of reducing spending on programs that just don’t work (e.g. Head Start.) You notice that I am not using a broad and silly exaggeration like ‘right wing’…but placing blame where it should be placed.

    • Carl

      Your stu pid comment blaming republicans is without merit. Dayton day after day wanted to raise taxes on the wealthy. Whats with that cr ap when he wants to give a billionaire state money for a statium. If you democrats want to pay for a statium pay for it. I’m not and they can move to LA. NO New

      • Mark Dayton

        Let me be clear on my position. I want to tax the rich. But not the really, really rich that have sports teams. They will bring needed jobs to the state.
        I also plan of raising taxes on sinful items like beer and cigs. lol you notice I’m not calling them fee’s like you know who.
        So suck it up. What Zigi wants Zigi gets.

    • True Twins Fan

      You give Twins fan’s a BAD NAME!!!!

      Please do NOT insult MY team! Just go away with your DLF mumbo-jumbo! You bring up NO valid points and just make the rest of us Twins fans look bad….

      I bet you are a Capps fan as well!

    • pockettes

      There are non union construction workers who are impecable at what they do…. I prefer a non union worker becuase I know the job will get done on time and with care.
      Don’t cut down those who do a job because they love their work. The best teachers are the ones in private schools. They are not union… they do what they do because they care and it shows.
      I am mixed on the whole stadium thing… but vikings are minnesota and provide us entertainment. I agree they all make to much just as i think about any other sports person as well as celebritites. Far to many people make far to much. none the less, I don’t want to see our vikings leave, they are minnesota.
      I prefer to help provide ideas on how to raise the money to help out.
      A stadium provides jobs for many people in various ways. It’s not just about the peanut vendor. Vikings also help raise monies for united way and other children’s foundations.
      Government needs to get rid fo wasteful spending like $100,000 dollar public bathrooms and special interests groups that do nothing for the people. Money is handed to people we have no idea about.
      I also think we can build a stadium without all the other construction around it. Save that for a later project if needed. focus on just a stadium for now

  • Joe the plumber

    i Agree, Professional sports is getting to the point where it is unsustainable. We cannot keep putting in Billions of tax payer money every 20 years simply because the owner wants a new stadium to look good in front of the other owners. Remember, the Vikequeens only play 8 home games a year. Is this worth the investment?? Let’s tax the richest 4% for the money on the new stadium.

    • disguy

      You don’t think this would increase jobs? I mean you don’t think they would need PLUMBERS to help build the new stadium? Which I’m sure in this economy of no new building and mostly remodel work that this would make more money for someone in the construction field than it would them sitting on a union bench somewhere or unemployed… where do you get the stat “billions of tax payer money”? The metrodump was less than 100 million for it and has paid itself off. This stadium your so up in arms about read the price… its not BILLIONS either. Get informed or don’t speak.

  • CM

    How can they consider state money for a stadium when there isn’t money to properly fund our schools? It is an outrage to our children’s future to even think about this. But you knew this was coming the moment the budget was settled.

    • KeepItReal

      I agree, no new stadium. But your premise that we do not ‘properly fund our schools’ is not correct. Plenty of money is spent. We need to hold parents and students accountable, and bust up the teachers union so that we put together a reward systems that is based on performance, not who has lived longer and taken more classes from other teachers.

  • b

    let them build a new stadium just let the worthless rich pay for it

  • Jillian

    When I heard this was still in the discussion I found it very disturbing. We are 5 billion in debt, borrowing from schools, cutting critical services and someone thinks this is a priority. If the Vikings want a new stadium they should be raising the money themselves to build it. This istadium should not be considered for funding from state dollars.

  • notnownotever


    • Skol


      • Fuke the new statium

        Take your new stadium and shove it. Watch your favorite losing team play in LA. No new taxes to pay for a statium for a billionaire.
        Shove it Zigi

      • NOnewstadiums

        NO new stadiums–No new stadiums–NO new stadiums–NO new stadiums–NO new stadiums–No new stadiums–NO new stadiums–NO new stadiums–NO new stadiums–No new stadiums–NO new stadiums–NO new stadiums–NO new stadiums–No new stadiums–NO new stadiums–NO new stadiums–NO new stadiums–No new stadiums–NO new stadiums–NO new stadiums–NO new stadiums–No new stadiums–NO new stadiums–NO new stadiums–

        • .

          I feel much better now . . .

      • KeepItReal

        Skol is a troll
        She eats from a bowl
        Watches loosing football
        While picking a mole

        ….see, I can ‘do it’ too…nice verb

  • Brian

    Zygi and Mark can take their team and pack sand as far as I’m concerned. Even IF the team was worth watching, they still wouldn’t be worth spending a billion on. Thanks to the GOP, we’re now in a position where we’re having to borrow money from schools so the millionaires of the state can keep their money. Now the Wilf boys want a handout too? I hear it’s sunny in California. Take your team and go!

    • Cliff

      The Dems have taken money from the schools before, it’s not just a GOP thing. The state last year spent $1billion a month in education payroll. I’m not saying it’s not worth it, and I’m not for a new stadium either. I believe the NFL as a whole should build there own building just as any other company does. I also believe we are taxed enough as a people here in Minnesota and not asked to pay anymore.

  • Lil Dawg

    Im a lil upset about the stadium. I have never been to a viking game nor will I ever go to a viking game. These players are making millions compared to my pea sized yearly income. Why should I have to contribute even a dime? I dont get into any of these sports (baseball, football, etc…) so why should I HAVE to help pay for it?

    • Big Dawg

      I don’t go to state parks, museums, have kids that go to school, use planned parenthood, and use about 20% of the highways in MN, so why do I have to pay for that? Get a stadium done.

      • Carrie

        Move to LA

        • Jake

          There are already lots of rumors saying that LA won’t build them a new stadium, EITHER. I would consider those rumors to have a good deal of truth to them. California’s state budget is in shambles, and it’s economy is in worse shape then ours is. Zigi needs to come up with another $100 million at the very least.

    • disguy

      I don’t get into the orpheum, or don’t have children in schools… yet I had to pay for them. Make a valid point or don’t make a point. Thats the way the world is, you don’t always get things you want, but you can stomp your feet and hope you could and pout like a child, ohh you know like Obama does.

  • Hannah

    I am getting tired of hearing people say “tax the rich” as if they are not paying any taxes! “Spoiled rich” they say! That is so untrue! Most people get a good education and make a succes of their lives and work hard to get where they are in life, and you people are putting them down because of their hard work and ambition in life!! Did it ever occur to most people on this commentary that the rich are getting tired of freeloaders in our society that they have to pay for!!??

  • Sarah in Outstate MN

    Is Zygi serious about this? We have real problems in this state and he is demanding a new stadium?! Unreal.

  • Cindy

    Our State just lost Millions, Millons, of $$$, and still are daily, and this guy has the balls to still request this? Unreal, let the Vikings go, or if they want to stay to produce the revenue they “claim” they produce, let them pay for it! This has no place in our State at this time for any form of discussion. Selfish!

  • Give it a rest, Zygi.

    We did not “fix” the state’s 5 billion dollar debt; to use the latest buzz phrase, we merely “kicked the can down the road” and will have to deal with a huge deficit again – sooner rather than later.

    Zygi has no shame – he’ll ask you for a cut of your inheritance at your parents’ funeral if it will help him build a new stadium on someone else’s money.

    There simply is no spare money to hand out, certainly not for a new football stadium.

    Give it a rest, Zygi. Buy it yourself, live with what we’ve already given you, or take a hike.

    • I second it

      Sounds like a good idea to me. I’ll second that!

      • My vote is for him to take a hike

        I vote for him taking a hike. He NEVER STOPS begging the state for money! It has become very, very old.

        • Sarah

          Yup I agree Zig leave and take the team with you

        • disguy

          then get out and vote instead of sitting behind your computer complaining.

          • Yes, put it to a vote, go right ahead, do it.

            It would be WONDERFUL if the public could vote on a referendum for the stadium. It would get defeated by about 10,000 to 1.

            Alas, the powers that be know that so they won’t listen to the people who have to pay for it, they’ll just shove it where the sun don’t shine baby.

            The Vikings suck and Zygi is even worse than that. He would take candy from a baby and try to sell it back to the mother.

            • The guy is a major sleeze

              I’ve lost all respect for Ziggy and his arrogant and aggressive tactics to try to force MN taxpayers to pay for his stadium.

              As far as I’m concerned, he and his team can’t leave MN too soon. I’ll help him pack his bags. Good riddance.

  • Kman

    Mr Dayton Get the Republicans Tax the Rich to Pay for it save Face or no new one Dome Has a New Roof Give it to Ziggy

  • MCullen Ne

    Bye Zigi

  • Infrared

    Wow, most of the posts are telling Z to build his own stadium. If the Minnesota leadership decides to tax to build this thing, a lot of them are going to have a harder time getting re-elected. Hmmmmm, build a stadium or be re-elected ? What would you choose if you were the politician ? Good bye Vikes, it’s been real. It’s been fun. I would like ONE good reason that Z cannot build it himself. I built my own business with MY own money.

    • disguy

      So did he… and his business is MUCH more successful than yours, people are talking about his businesses… who mentions yours?

  • Dean

    The whole concept a stadium is a joke. Billions in cuts to education and human services, but we’re supposed to find money for a stadium? For a team most people can’t even afford to go watch anymore? Please. Oh wait, they did it before didn’t they. Public opinions was 90% against the stadiums for the Wild and the Twins, and they got theirs. I’m sure they’ll figure out a way to stick it to us again. I just wish the Vikings would go away, far away.

  • Randy

    Owners make millions and players make millions. Put up your own fu king statium. I am living on SS

    • jim

      Get a job, no one cares.

  • Bill

    4 Super bowl losses! S*x Boat! Brett favre fiasco! Players who play when they want to!, Yeah, Let’s build them a new stadium! NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • USS Atlantis

    We’re looking at property tax increases while already living on the edge and the idiot Billionaire want’s a hand-out from MY pocket?

    Bye-Bye Vikings, hope you like it on the west coast


  • Mark from Minnesota Tax Waste

    Not one penny for this!!

  • Mark from Minnesota Tax Waste

    Dont forget to tell everyone about the great jobs it will bring. Vendors, and concession stand workers making $10.00 an hour! Support a family on that!

    • Sol

      Some people prefer this kind of work. Some people dont need material things in life.. Without the high cost of technology… many of us could probably get by with budgeting on 10$ an hour… we use to budget on a whole lot less.
      For instance… 2 yrs ago i paid a $26 phone bill… today, I pay a $223.00 for a family of 4 to have cell phones. My husband and i do not do the major data plan and we are FORCED to pay the $10 data plan because of our phones with the qwerty board for texting… The point is, yes it is convenient… but in reality we don’t need all the conveniences or we could do with half the conveniences.
      5 yrs ago, I watched TV for free… Now, I pay a $100.00 cable bill. Do I need it, only if I want conveniences but it won’t kill me or degrade my life if I did not have it.
      I have it because I work hard for it. My kids colleges are paid for, we aren’t rich but we did scrimp and save since the day we married so we wouldn’t be in debt to anyone. We paid our way and now it’s time to enjoy the benefits of having done so. In some ways we choose the life we live in one way or another by the choices we made in the past.

    • disguy

      Go get an education on government money and you can make more than 10$ an hour, how bout when they aren’t working and making 0 dollars and hour? Ohh thats right the tax payers pay for their unemployment. People chose to take those jobs because they’d rather make 10$ an hour, and as a part time job instead of soaking off the tax payers and if their full time career is handing out popcorn, then there is something wrong anyways. Go to a 2 year school and double their 10$ an hour. Instead of complaining about others get off your butt and do something for yourself by yourself.

  • Ben

    These worthless players and owner can fund the thing out of their own pocket. Better yet, lets just throw them into a cattle car and ship them to LA. kinda like the Nazis did to the Jews when they shipped them to death.

    • dima

      how about you get yourself into the car and run off the bridge, fu king Anti-Semite

  • waconia

    I live here in the Minneapolis area and am paying unbelievable amount of taxes to pay for all of the liberal programs. I’m done getting soaked to pay for the bike paths, the excessive abused entitlement programs, and other non-essentials. I draw the line at supporting a stadium. Make the Metrodome work..though it is a substandard stadium.

    • kman

      You Know you could Move the Bike Paths are Being used and will Pay for them selfs down the Road seems they had to cut Phyed from the Schools get a Bike sounds like you could use a good work out

  • Keep The Vikes In MN

    As an out of work construction worker and huge Viking fan I hope this stadium deal gets done. I need to get back to work!! Go ahead and gripe all you want but remember you’re employed.

    • Dan

      What makes you think they would hire you?? Your unemployed for a reason, give us a break. Find a job!!

    • Quit posting and look for work

      Go build it in California MOVE

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