Vikings stadium plans thrown into limbo

  • Article by: MIKE KASZUBA AND , RACHEL E. STASSEN-BERGER
  • Updated: November 3, 2011 - 6:40 AM

Dayton "surprised" GOP opposes a special session.

Gov. Mark Dayton on Wednesday called off plans to hammer out a solution this month for a new Minnesota Vikings stadium, saying Republican leaders had abruptly "walked away" from the idea of a special legislative session.

Key Republicans countered that the issue is not an emergency, dismissing speculation that the team is prepared to leave the state if no resolution is reached.

A frustrated Dayton emerged from a tense meeting with Republicans and said he was postponing his plan to announce on Monday a stadium-funding proposal. The meeting came after another day of stadium politics that erupted after House Speaker Kurt Zellers messaged lawmakers Tuesday night to say he had "repeatedly" told Dayton he opposed a special session and felt the issue could wait until next year.

While Zellers largely dodged questions on where he stood after the Wednesday meeting with Dayton, the DFL governor pointedly said that he was "very surprised" by Zellers' comments.

"Nobody's ever told me explicitly that they opposed the special session," Dayton said. "They walked away from it."

Dayton also said he was calling off a meeting Friday with Vikings owner Zygi Wilf. "The statement's pretty clear that they're opposed to this special session."

The day's events signaled that Republican lawmakers, despite mounting political pressure from the Vikings, are not convinced that the February expiration of the team's lease at the Metrodome is sufficient reason to rush into special session.

Republican officials pointed out that there is still no public funding plan or definite location for the proposed $1.1 billion stadium. "You can't have a vote on a special session without having a plan," Zellers said.

Several key House Republicans applauded Zellers' stance, saying it reflects the views of what might now be a majority of legislators.

Rep. Linda Runbeck, R-Circle Pines, who chairs the House Property and Local Tax Division, said since the summer there has been a sense growing among House members "who do not believe there's an emergency."

She dismissed any threat that the Vikings, who have played in the downtown Minneapolis Metrodome since 1982, would leave Minnesota if a publicly subsidized stadium is not approved soon.

"We've seen the stadium games played out all the previous decades," she said. "There's always a threat."

She said too many stadium supporters were failing to examine why the Vikings needed to build a $1.1 billion stadium that would mostly reward Wilf and that had "little to do with the game itself."

Vikings officials called the standoff "very disappointing."

Lester Bagley, the team's vice president for stadium development and public affairs, said that "it's only going to get more expensive and more difficult to resolve, especially if the state allows the lease to expire with no action. The Vikings' lease expires in 90 days. At that point, we will be the only NFL team without a lease."

But other GOP leaders echoed the skepticism of Zellers and Runbeck.

Rep. Steve Gottwalt, R-St. Cloud, chairman of the House Health and Human Services Reform panel, said he agreed "wholeheartedly" with Zellers.

"I also don't think we've seen the best offer yet from the Vikings," Gottwalt said. The Vikings, he said, are "asking too much, frankly, from the state of Minnesota right now, especially given our financial situation."

The Republican chairwoman of the House Government Operations and Elections Committee, a likely first stop for a stadium public hearing, said she also saw no hurry. "I don't believe it's necessary," Rep. Joyce Peppin, R-Rogers, said of a special session. "Nobody has told me that the Vikings are planning on leaving [Minnesota] in the next two months" before the Legislature convenes in January for a regular session, Peppin said.

Added Rep. Greg Davids, R-Preston, who heads the influential House Taxes Committee: "I don't think anything is going to be done or finished before Thanksgiving."

While the Vikings want to build a 65,000-seat stadium in the Ramsey County city of Arden Hills, the project took a political torpedo Tuesday when Dayton announced there was not enough legislative support for exempting the requirement for a referendum on any local sales tax increase to help fund the stadium. Ramsey County had proposed raising $350 million for the stadium through a countywide sales tax increase, and stadium backers had long argued that a referendum would effectively scuttle the project.

Despite the showdown between Dayton and Republicans over the stadium, Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, said he was buoyed by the Republican announcement that there would be public hearings at some point. "[But] it seems like we're going in the wrong direction," Bakk said.

Staff writer Rochelle Olson contributed to this report. mkaszuba@startribune.com • 651-222-1673 rachel.stassen-berger@startribune.com

  • related content

  • Passage of new Vikings stadium

    Sunday May 12, 2013

    Complete Star Tribune coverage of Vikings stadium proposal.

  • Gov. Mark Dayton

  • House Majority Leader Kurt Zellers talked to the media after their mee...

  • Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch and House Majority Leader Kurt Zellers...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Mets 4 FINAL
St. Louis 5
Pittsburgh 4 FINAL
Minnesota 2
St. Louis 1 FINAL
Washington 1
Boston - LP: C. Buchholz 2 FINAL
Atlanta - WP: J. Teheran 4
NY Yankees 10 FINAL
Philadelphia 0
Tampa Bay 0 Cancelled
Baltimore 0
Detroit 1 FINAL
Toronto 4
Chicago WSox 0 Bottom 3rd Inning
Chicago Cubs 2
Texas 0 Top 3rd Inning
Oakland 1
Cleveland 0 Top 3rd Inning
Arizona 1
Arizona 5 Bottom 2nd Inning
LA Angels 1
Miami 5:05 PM
Houston
Seattle 8:05 PM
Kansas City
San Francisco 9:05 PM
Los Angeles
Colorado 9:05 PM
San Diego
Milwaukee 9:05 PM
Cincinnati
Detroit 6:00 PM
Orlando
LA Clippers 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Charlotte 6:00 PM
Washington
Boston 6:30 PM
New York
Cleveland 6:30 PM
Brooklyn
LA Lakers 6:30 PM
Toronto
Miami 6:30 PM
Atlanta
Golden State 7:00 PM
Memphis
Sacramento 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Houston
Dallas 7:30 PM
San Antonio
Utah 8:00 PM
Denver
Portland 9:00 PM
Phoenix
Calgary 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Columbus 7:30 PM
Chicago
Dallas 8:30 PM
Edmonton
UCLA 6:15 PM
Gonzaga
NC State 6:37 PM
Louisville
Utah 8:45 PM
Duke
Kent State 9:00 PM
Northern Ariz
Michigan State 9:07 PM
Oklahoma
(15) North Carolina 6:00 PM
(3) South Carolina
(18) Iowa 6:30 PM
(5) Baylor
(9) Arizona State 8:30 PM
(7) Florida State
(14) Stanford 9:00 PM
(2) Notre Dame
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: What should the Vikings do with Adrian Peterson?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close