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Gov. Dayton Sets Deadline For Vikings Stadium Plan

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(credit: CBS) Pat Kessler
Pat Kessler knows Minnesota politics. He's been on the beat long...
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ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – Non-stop talks continued at the State Capitol Wednesday as Governor Mark Dayton, Vikings Owner Zygi Wilf and other officials met to come up with a plan on how to pay for a new stadium before a special session is called.

The outlines of a possible deal are beginning to take shape one day after NFL officials put a slight nudge of pressure on the state. The threat to move the team out of the state is very real if a stadium deal can’t be reached.

“If you lose one of these franchises, you don’t often get an opportunity anytime soon to get it back,” Dayton said. “So keeping the team we have, the Minnesota Vikings have been here for 50 years. They have had their good years and not so good years but they are a Minnesota institution.”

Gov. Dayton continued a series of private meetings Wednesday. Wilf, a key player in those meetings, refused to comment to the media as he left the Capitol.

Gov. Dayton also met with Ramsey County Commissioners, who have committed $350 million for the Arden Hills site. Dayton also met with developers who want to build a casino in downtown Minneapolis, whose revenue could be used for stadium construction.

Dayton made his strongest comments yet in favor of the Arden Hills stadium site, if only because the Vikings won’t put their money anywhere else. He also repeated an NFL warning: Without a stadium, the Vikings could leave.

“I’m looking at how we can create an up vote. We keep emphasizing to everybody, and I know what everybody out there is against. I want to know what people are for,” Dayton said.

Adding to the day’s mysterious nature: Minneapolis Block E casino developers were summoned to the Vikings’ meetings. They later told reporters they discussed casino cash, not the stadium.

“We think that Block E is a wonderful generator of jobs as well as bringing new vitality to downtown Minneapolis,” said Bob Lux, one of the potential developers.

Dayton set a 10-day deadline for all the necessary parts to agree on key parts of a stadium. He plans to unveil his own detailed stadium proposal for the legislature on Nov. 7. He wants the legislature to debate the plan before he calls for a special session, which has been set to start Nov. 21.

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