EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf said Thursday the team would spend significantly less than the $400 million it has pledged to help a build a new stadium if it’s not located on the team’s preferred site in suburban St. Paul.

The Vikings have committed the money to support a $1.1 billion stadium plan at a sprawling site in Arden Hills, which the team favors for its long-term development potential. Some political and business leaders favor keeping the team in downtown Minneapolis, where a handful of more compact sites are an option.

“We’re committed to the Arden Hills site for what it brings to the fans, but we’re also committed to investing over $400 million in specific to the Arden Hills site for the experiences that everyone can get from Arden Hills,” Wilf told The Associated Press in an interview. “Any other location besides Arden Hills wouldn’t justify near that level of commitment.”

The 430-acre site at a former munitions plant offers ample room for on-site parking and tailgating, amenities for which Vikings fans have clamored and would generate revenue for the team.

The Vikings have campaigned for a new stadium to replace the drab and outdated Metrodome for about a decade. Their lease at the dome ends after this season, and many fans are worried the most popular team in the state could be lost to football-hungry Los Angeles unless a deal is reached soon.

The Vikings partnered this year with officials in suburban Ramsey County to pitch the $1.1 billion development, with the local government offering $350 million from a sales-tax increase to pay its share of the bill. State lawmakers recently rejected the idea of using a local tax hike as a revenue source, leading to speculation they are trying to funnel the stadium to one of at least three sites downtown.

“Avoiding the issue, as seems to have been taking place in the last couple of weeks, does not work,” Wilf said. “It only gets more difficult and more expensive. We’re very encouraged by leadership of both houses and the governor in trying to bring a stadium solution front and center.”

Wilf said he has had only minimal contact with Minneapolis officials about potential sites downtown and didn’t entirely rule out the possibility. But he stressed Arden Hills remains the preferred destination because any downtown site can’t match its potential for surrounding development.

Messages left with Gov. Mark Dayton and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak seeking comment were not immediately returned.

Wilf and Dayton have sought a special session of the legislature to address the issue, something Republican House Speaker Kurt Zellers said last week he did not support. Dayton has expressed frustration with state lawmakers’ inaction several times during the past few weeks, but Wilf said he remained optimistic the team will reach a deal.

“I think everyone realizes this has to get done,” Wilf said. “But it’s not a matter of when, but how we do it. I think as we work toward getting this resolved, everyone will focus on how it gets done and not if. That’s what we’re focusing on. That’s what the leadership is focusing on.”

Stadium opponents have decried the idea of giving hundreds of millions of public dollars to a billionaire for what they dub “Zygi World,” a reference to the anticipated hotels, stores and other developments surrounding a new stadium. Wilf said Thursday that all $400 million of the team’s commitment would go directly toward building the 260-acre stadium project, not to surrounding development.

Wilf said he plans to purchase and develop the remaining 170 acres with private money.

One of the main reasons for a lack of urgency from some state leaders appears to be the idea that Minnesota is in no danger of losing the franchise. The New Jersey real estate mogul has long said he has no plans to sell or move the team, and he said Thursday that hasn’t changed.

The team has acknowledged being contacted by two groups looking to lure a franchise to Los Angeles, but Wilf said they haven’t spoken for months.

“From the NFL’s standpoint and the league’s standpoint, they do intend to have one, if not two teams, in that market in the future,” Wilf said. “But I want to let everyone know that we are entirely focused on getting the job done here and I’m not paying much attention to what happens outside this issue here.”

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

Comments (34)
  1. AP says:

    Tough. Take it or leave it. The people of Minnesota should not pay for Mr. Wilf’s real estate ventures.

    1. Brock Lesnar says:

      We’re all suffering from Zygi-Fatigue..His face is getting very annoying..His shamelss begging is very tiresome..His push-broom mustache makes me wanna punch his face in.

  2. D McNabb says:

    What the? How about this. Let’s go with the Arden Hills site. You pay for it.

  3. mike says:

    it a fact the rich are greedy……let just throw 400 million at it and then pull it lit it’s spare change…LOL

  4. jean says:

    Zygi Wilf ,leave it. The people of Minnesota should not pay for Mr. Wilf’s real estate ventures-hey it just business- noting personal

  5. king says:

    What a bunch of losers …..

  6. Zellers! Please stand firm! Zip for zippy. says:

    So once again Wilf is going to DICTATE to the state of Minnesota how OUR money will be spent to make WILF more money!

    Zellers and company – PLEASE STAND FIRM! NOTHING for Zygi. No tax money, no gambling money, nothing!!! Let him leave. The greedy you-know-what.

  7. bill says:

    All this hoopla about a stadium is for one purpose. So millionaire corporate fatcats can rent more of their skyboxes and look down through their nose at the common folk in the ‘new’ stadium. The Metrodome is fine. I have been to games there and sure it gets a little crampt in the hallways at halftime but nothing worse than a new york or dc metro train space wise.

    1. Iknowit says:

      Must have been a Gopher or Twins game several years ago… If there was a chance for you to see a real stadium , outside your ‘GOOD ENOUGH FOR ME ATTITUDE”, MAYBE PEOPLE LIKE YOU WOULD GET IT. BUT WE THE PEOPLE, KNOW PEOPLE LIKE YOU WANT IT ALL, BUT ARE NEVER WILLING TO PAY FOR IT…PLAIN AND SIMPLE.

      1. va172 says:

        Why don’t you just sign your paycheck over to help the stadium get built? Would also help if you knew how to form a sentence.

  8. va172 says:

    Zigi, just go away………..

    1. Iknowit says:

      better yet! YOU go away. Don’t let the door hit you where the good Lord split you!

      1. va172 says:

        Iknowit hasn’t a clue. I do believe his head is where the Lord split him.

  9. Z. Wilf says:

    Why would I support this. It would put enough money in my pocket.

    1. Z. Wilf says:

      Sorry. I meant wouldn’t

  10. Get it done says:

    You People have no idea how many football fans there are in MN and how many people want to get this done so the team can stay in MN. Face the facts this is going to get done no matter what the few people out there who don’t want it done say..

    1. Undone and move says:

      I am at a loss, Please tell me how many fans there are. With your stupid post you must have all the numbers

      1. Redone says:

        You were probably born at a loss.. people as stupid as you are the ones who have no idea how the economy works

    2. Get rid of the shameless beggar says:

      Q. If you’re so sure of that why don’t you support a statewide referendum to decide the issue?

      A. Because IT WOULD FAIL!

      The MAJORITY DO NOT WANT any type of public money used to support this shameless beggar who can’t take “NO!” for an answer.

  11. Ed says:

    Update the Dome and save money by not putting in the end zones the Viking’s don’t know where they are

    1. Iknowit says:

      Stay on topic. Your comment ranks you with another anti that said ” the Vikings should pair with the Gophers like the Arizona Cardinals did with the University of Phoenix”! Clueless antis!

      1. Deep Thinker says:

        @lknowit, your posts indicate that you are childish, why are you so against other people having opinions that differ from yours? Are you just a bit insecure? Or maybe you are just a loser….

  12. Tim Bloomquist says:

    Piggy, Piggy Piggy!!

  13. Pavel says:

    Let them develop the downtown site. Why should the state citizens support this new development in Arden Hills so he can develop the remainder of the land and make millions on it. All the infrastructure is downtown. Public transit is a big one. Everyone would have to drive to a stadium in Arden Hills. These people are money hungry!

  14. NO TAX MONEY !! says:


  15. to da** much says:

    They’d never put this bs to a public vote – never. Many of us Vike Loyal have ow had it too.
    If Zig could get 35% support statewide when the economy is this poor – I would buy him lunch.
    If the game continues I will assist in packing their boxes and waving bye-bye

  16. Ordinary Guy says:

    Go Vikes!…..No really,….GO!

  17. Racinos rock says:

    Lets get this thing done Racino is the only answer!

  18. Krissi says:

    For 1) He is basically saying Minneapolis is not “good enough” for him, which should be insulting to a number of people.
    For 2) The whole Racino thing is basically saying that people aren’t above taking money away from other people with gambling problems (and their families) to build a stadium for yet another overly greedy group of people.
    In my opinion, they should stay in the dome (improvements would be acceptable) or leave.

    1. Racino Rocks says:

      Have you ever heard of personal responsibility? The tribes have a monoply now , there are cards and gambling allready in place at Canterbury park. Get a clue in life would you?Wow cant believe how many iggnorant people are on these boards.

      1. Krissi says:

        Wow, can’t believe how many judgemental people are on these boards. I am as much within my rights to state my opinions as you are, and guess what? I can do it without being insulting or condesending.

        Yes, people should have personal accountability, but gambling is as much an addiction as drinking, smoking, and so on. Would you go to a bar and ask your friend from AA to join you?

        And since that is the only part of my comment that you argued with, I take it to mean that you have nothing contradictary to say about me thinking that Ziggy and the lot of them are greedy snobs.

  19. Laurie says:

    Threats Threats Threats! Is the poutie little boy taking his ball home if he doesn’t get what he wants? Get lost and take the Queens with you!

  20. Win or Else says:

    Ok so here’s the deal. If the Vikings beat the Packers on Monday we will help fund a stadium. If not, to bad Ziggy I guess you don’t deserve it….

  21. TOEFL Vorbereitung Frankfurt says:

    Very nice post. I simply stumbled upon your blog and wanted to mention that I have really loved surfing around your blog posts. In any case I will be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again soon!

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