Reporting Jason DeRusha
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — To use a sports cliché — the clock’s run out.
The Vikings don’t have a new stadium, or a place to play next year.
However, the current stalemate isn’t something that will surprise anybody following Minnesota’s football franchise, according to Vikings vice president Lester Bagley.
“It’s not like we snuck it up on anybody,” Bagley said. “Everybody knows the situation, the timeline and the deadline.”
For 30 seasons the Vikings have called the Dome home. But without a new stadium plan in place, the Vikings say they won’t renew their lease at the Metrodome.
For fans, the thought of the franchise leaving the state is heartbreaking.
“It’s terrible to think about them leaving,” said Tom Kotarski, a Vikings season ticket holder.
On the other hand, it’s hard to believe the Vikings would cancel a season or leave town because there’s no deal in place. In other words: the team hasn’t abandoned ship just yet.
“It’s no secret we have been contacted by other communities,” Bagley said. “But we’ve told them we’re encouraged, we’re hopeful; we’re in position to get it done in Minnesota.”
The Vikings ownership wants to build a dream stadium in Arden Hills. If constructed, the $1 billion stadium would be the most expensive construction project ever in the state.
But state leaders is encouraging the team to instead look at other sites in Minneapolis.
“The urgency is here,” Bagley said. “It’s been 30 years great seasons at the dome. but it’s really time to get this issue resolved.”
The Vikings said they’re meeting with the new Republican Senate Majority leader, Dave Senjem, next week.
A vote on a new stadium won’t likely happen until April or May.