MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — But behind the scenes, 2016 is the date on many Vikings’ fan calendars.

That’s the projected opening of the new stadium in Minneapolis. The team is many months away from the first shovel in the ground, but some of the most important work is going on in a meeting room at the Metrodome.

Companies are getting hired, plans made and the Vikings are getting ready to put down $50 million to get the project going.

Imagine Lucas Oil stadium in Indianapolis and put it into downtown Minneapolis. And instead of a retractable roof, maybe a retractable wall that opens to the city.

Those are one of thousands of stadium decisions that now on the table.

“In terms of the project and the construction and design and development, no, I think we have a pretty good handle on it given the experience of our ownership,” said Lester Bagley, VP of Public Affairs and Stadium Development.

The new Minnesota Sports Authority will oversee the construction of the stadium, and it’s moving quickly — approving a project manager who worked on the New Jersey Devils arena and an owner’s rep who oversaw construction of extensive renovations at Lambeau Field.

And when faced with action that might delay construction, the answer is no.

“Each year of delay is about a $50 million premium to the project,” said Ted Mondale of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority.

City leaders are sharply focusing on the areas immediately around the new stadium, trying to avoid the kind of concrete wasteland that settled at the Metrodome.

Meanwhile, the Vikings are preparing to put a down payment on the project. Team owners Mark and Zygi Wilf are writing a check for $50 million.

The Vikings’ check should be in the bank by September.


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