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Continued: Panel to present plan for Vikings stadium today

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Last update: December 17, 2009 - 6:22 AM

About two weeks ago, the honorable Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who identifies himself as Tim of Eagan when he calls the Sunday WCCO radio show, phoned the office of Vikings owner Zygi Wilf and suggested they meet on Dec. 15 to discuss the team's stadium problems.

Well, they met on Tuesday, and the word you get is that it was a positive meeting and the two parties will meet again in the near future.

Adding to the financial problems of the Vikings, who have the lowest revenue of any NFL team, is that starting next year, the league will be eliminating the supplemental revenue-sharing plan that has been netting the Vikings some $15 million per year.

The Vikings continue to sign only two-year contracts on all their operations. They will do this with their radio broadcasts on KFAN and announce it later this week once the papers are signed, and Clear Channel pays the $350,000 per year they have been giving the Vikings, who also have the right to sell the advertising.

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission will hold a meeting today, at which they will display a stadium design that was worked on jointly by the commission and the Vikings until they got into a big disagreement a couple of weeks ago.

At that time, a committee headed by Paul Thatcher of the MSFC suggested that the Vikings play $4 million in rent (something they don't pay now) for the balance of the current lease (two years) if they didn't extend the lease for two years.

Lester Bagley, vice president of public affairs for the Vikings, said the club will not be present and will not endorse the plan. While the two parties were getting along, the Vikings had asked for a $1.2 million reduction in the fees they pay to operate the stadium during games, and before the impasse came about, the commission had agreed to give a $675,000 reduction.

Bill Lester, executive director of the MSFC, said the panel believed they were entitled to the two-year extension to give more time to get a stadium going after allowing the Vikings many ways to improve revenue streams from the existing stadium, such as advertising, naming rights, waiving rent and the additional $675,000 or more per year, provided the commission remained in strong financial condition.

"This was in exchange for an additional two years on the user agreement," Lester said. There also was a requirement that the Vikings pay back the money should they be sold or leave the state.

Cheaper stadium

Lester said the stadium plan will be a reduction in cost from the original $954 million because of lower product and labor costs.

"The facility will have every element required by the Vikings and the NFL as well as the requirements for the MSFC, such as amateur baseball, NCAA basketball, motor sports and the other 200 events that occur in the current Metrodome," Lester said.

"[Contracting firm] Mortenson will also present a schedule depending on when the project is approved and construction can begin."

Incidentally, while a lot of plans have been discussed about how to raise money to build a Vikings stadium, one recent one would be a state sales tax of 1/10th of 1 percent, or 10 cents on every $100.

This tax would raise the money to build the stadium and could include some other needed items. And it would result in a lot less cost to the taxpayer than the recently passed Constitutional amendment for the arts and environment of three-eighths of 1 percent that will raise about $276 million per year for the arts, clean water and wildlife conservation.

And none of the benefactors of that tax can leave the area, something the Vikings have a right to do.

Tops receiving mark

Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has already exceeded his pass receiving yards of the past two seasons with 319 this year, compared with 268 yards in the 2007 season and 125 in 2008.

Look for receiver Percy Harvin to head to Mayo Clinic in Rochester to check out if anything new can be done about his migraine headaches.

It's amazing what winning and the presence of a Brett Favre can do for the sale of tickets. Last summer, the Vikings were very concerned about having a number of blackouts this season. Well, the signing of Favre helped bring the victories and every game will be a sellout, including the Giants game on Jan. 3.

Henderson honored

According to the Sporting News, Cretin-Derham Hall's Seantrel Henderson is one of seven candidates for the U.S. Army National Player of the Year Award. TSN ranks him as the third-best recruit in the country behind running backs Marcus Lattimore of Duncan, S.C., and Lache Seastrunk of Temple, Texas.

Henderson, who will play in the All-American Bowl in San Antonio, will visit Florida this weekend. Henderson is also an outstanding basketball player, and is being recruited by Gophers basketball coach Tubby Smith. Gophers football coach Tim Brewster, who seems to have a good relationship with Henderson and his family, doesn't have any objection to Henderson playing both sports.

Jottings

On the first day of the midyear recruiting period, the Gophers football team picked up some early official entries for the class of 2010. Multiple recruiting services are reporting that tight end Tiree Eure and cornerback Christyn Lewis, both junior college players, have signed letters of intent. Meanwhile, receiver James Green has signed a non-binding scholarship agreement. All three are expected to be in school for the spring semester.

J Robinson won his 350th dual meet when the Gophers wrestling team beat Northern Colorado 41-3 on Sunday. Robinson, in his 24th season as coach, is closing in on Wally Johnson's school record of 392 career victories (1952-1986). Robinson, who hasn't had a contract but has gone year by year with the same contract, has been offered a new multiyear contract by athletic director Joel Maturi calling for in the area of $130,000 a year. However, nothing will happen until the Gophers compliance department investigates real estate deals among Robinson, assistant coaches and wrestlers. Robinson insists no NCAA rules have been broken.

Defenseman Sam Lofquist has one goal and 10 assists in 14 games for Guelph of the OHL since leaving the Gophers hockey team. ... Erik Haula is the third-leading scorer in the USHL with 12 goals and 25 assists in 23 games for Omaha, and fellow Gophers recruits Ryan Walters (10 goals and 14 assists for Des Moines) and Nate Condon (14 goals and 10 assists for Fargo) are tied for 13th in USHL scoring.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. • shartman@startribune.com

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