It’s officially two days until the end of an era, as the Vikings and their fans get set for the team’s final game at the Metrodome, and the last day the public will be allowed inside. But things will be different at this game for another reason.
The Minnesota Vikings plan a big weekend for fans as the team closes out its final season at the Metrodome. The festivities begin Saturday with a “Last Season, Last Call” event from 4-7 p.m. at Mall of America Field at the downtown Minneapolis dome.
The big dig is on. Construction on a new Vikings stadium is well underway. In fact, it’s going so fast that the demolition of the old Dome could happen soon. Mortenson Construction Company, the builder of the new stadium, has already removed 100,000 tons of dirt, creating a vast hole that is essentially a foundation for the new facility. Workers are putting in the pilings to secure the outer perimeter. All of this is in preparation for the last Dome event: the Vikings game against the Lions on Dec. 29.
There’s more objection surrounding the new Vikings stadium on Thursday, a little more than a week after officials broke ground on one of the largest construction projects in Minnesota history. Except this time it literally deals with areas surrounding the new stadium.
The Minnesota Vikings and Wells Fargo have reached a preliminary agreement to resolve a conflict surrounding a development near the team’s new stadium. Vikings vice president of stadium development Lester Bagley says the agreement was reached on Saturday night. It establishes parameters for roof signage on a new Wells Fargo tower close to the new Vikings stadium in downtown Minneapolis. The Vikings were concerned that the proposed signing violated city ordinances and would deter other companies from pursuing naming rights deals for the new stadium.
The Minnesota Vikings have broken ground on their new stadium. Team owners and officials were joined by hundreds of local politicians, business leaders and purple-clad fans Tuesday morning to commemorate the start of construction on the billion-dollar project.
Politicians, Vikings executives and possibly a few notable former players will be on hand at the groundbreaking ceremony for the team’s new, $1 billion stadium. The Tuesday morning program inside the soon-to-be-demolished Metrodome is open to the public, but there are only a few hundred seats available.
For more than three decades, the weekend after Thanksgiving has been special for high school football players. This weekend will be the last time the Prep Bowl will be held at the Metrodome. The venue is coming down to make way for a new Vikings stadium. For Noah Rockholl, the quarterback on last year’s football team, Friday is a special day. “You can drive through the streets of Underwood today and I guarantee you won’t see a single person or a car in the town,” Rockholl said. “The whole the whole town’s here.”
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Former state House member Tom Rukavina says he’s annoyed that the new Vikings stadium requires ore from overseas. Mortenson Construction executive John Wood told the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority that some high-grade steel will be imported from Europe. He says officials are ordering from a Luxembourg manufacturer that’s a global provider of the extra-strength steel. Wood says the 7,000 tons of steel that make up the perimeter can be drawn domestically, but even that will probably have only small traces of Minnesota in it.
Backers of the $1 billion Vikings stadium regularly tout the project as an economic driver that will boost the state’s construction industry and rely heavily on Minnesota-derived materials. Construction planners showed last week that those goals are easier stated than achieved.
The Minnesota Vikings say they’ll raise their contribution to a new stadium to more than $500 million to make sure the project has everything they want. Vice President Lester Bagley says the extra money is the only way to preserve the design and features in the new stadium, which will now cost more than $1 billion.
The groundbreaking for the new Minnesota Vikings stadium will be on Tuesday, Dec. 3. The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority confirmed the date Tuesday. It’s the official start of construction on the nearly $1 billion football stadium that will be built at the current Metrodome site.
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The public authority in charge of the new Minnesota Vikings stadium is tying up loose ends before construction can get underway next month. The head of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority said Friday that the project is “beginning to move at lightning speed” as the mid-November groundbreaking. Next week a key pricing report is due from the lead contractor that could reflect cost pressures on the $975 million stadium. The Vikings must certify their $477 million share for the project by early November. Soon after, the state will sell bonds toward the $477 million public contribution.