Sid Hartman: Stadium proposal has Vikings excited

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 5, 2012 - 12:34 AM

Mark Wilf called the agreement a compromise, but one that has the team enthusiastic nonetheless.

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Sen. Julie Rosen appeared with Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf and others at a news conference at the Capitol last week.

Photo: Jim Gehrz, Star Tribune

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Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf want to make clear that regarding a new stadium, they will only share in revenue from the 10 Vikings games each season, plus any additional playoff games, NFL events and a Major League Soccer team, if they get one.

The Vikings will not own the stadium, and the operators of the stadium will earn all the revenue from all other events there.

"We are very excited that Vikings fans will finally be able to have a first-class gameday experience, which is so important in the NFL," Mark Wilf, the Vikings president, said in an e-mailed response to my questions. "There is a tremendous opportunity for a dynamic and programmable plaza, enhanced tailgating, a Vikings Hall of Fame, the NFL Experience and other amenities. The site is also at the convergence of two LRT lines and is the most cost-efficient stadium site, which is important to the public and to the Legislature."

He added that this will be a multipurpose stadium modeled after Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, which since opening in 2008 has already been home to a Final Four and a Super Bowl. It is also the regular home to other Indiana high school and college sports as well as many other community events.

Wilf added: "We also look forward to pursuing a Major League Soccer franchise for this market, if we are able to resolve the stadium issue this year." The Vikings have exclusive rights to bring an MLS team to the new stadium within five years of its opening, and the team could play there without paying additional rent.

"We feel like the agreement we have delivered to the Legislature meets the parameters and the direction we were given by legislative leaders," Wilf said. "This proposal uses no new taxes or general fund dollars, has the Vikings contribute more than 50 percent of the life-cycle costs of the project and will create a tremendous number of construction jobs and ongoing jobs in this community."

Furthermore, Wilf said: "We have delivered the most cost-efficient site and put the plan together that legislative leaders and the governor [Mark Dayton] told us was the only one that could pass this session. And, given that the Vikings lease at the Metrodome has expired, it is critical that this gets done this year.

"We feel good that we now have a package that we can take to the Capitol to discuss with the Legislature and the public. This agreement was a compromise for all three parties. The team is making a significant private contribution in a small- to medium-sized market -- the third-largest team/private contribution in NFL history. ... I don't think any of the three partners in this deal got everything they wanted."

Wilf said that while team ownership has generally liked the Metrodome site, the Vikings had concerns about the "disruption to our fans, our football team and our business by having to play outside of our own stadium. We think we can limit the games to TCF Bank Stadium to perhaps one season."

Wilf made it a point to say the Vikings owners thanked Dayton, Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission Chairman Ted Mondale, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, City Council President Barbara Johnson, Sen. Julie Rosen, Rep. Morrie Lanning and the bipartisan legislative working group for their work in putting together this agreement, adding that "they are also fortunate to have the support of many of Minnesota's top businesses and labor organizations."

I want to remind the political world that holds the fate of this stadium that it is what Dayton calls a "people's stadium," since the Vikings primarily would occupy it only for game days, and that the stadium should be built so that all kinds of events can be played in it, including high school and college baseball.

Jottings

• The Vikings have drafted these offensive and defensive linemen in the top 10: Jim Dunaway of Mississippi State in 1963 (never played), Carl Eller of the Gophers in 1964, Jerry Shay of Purdue in 1966, Ron Yary of Southern California in 1968, Doug Martin of Washington in 1980 and Bryant McKinnie of Miami (Fla.) in 2002. I'm predicting that tackle Matt Kalil of Southern California will be added to this list at the April draft. Incidentally, they also took Pitt's Chris Doleman in the top 10 in 1984. He was a linebacker at the time but became a Hall of Fame defensive end.

• Gophers football players Duane Bennett, Chris Bunders, Anthony Jacobs, Brandon Kirksey, Eric Lair, Da'Jon McKnight, Kim Royston and Gary Tinsley will participate in a pro day on campus for NFL scouts Monday.

• Jay Pivec, the former Minneapolis Community and Technical College basketball coach who started a program at Dakota County Technical College, did a great job in his first year, getting ranked No. 10 in the country and going to the National Junior College Athletic Association's Division II regional title game before losing to host Bismarck State College 94-90 in overtime Sunday.

• Chip Armelin, the Gophers sophomore guard from Sulphur, La., who scored 20 points vs. Nebraska on Saturday, was no doubt influenced by the presence of his father, Gerald, who saw him play for the first time this season.

• Iowa State got a big victory over No. 10 Baylor on Saturday. On Sunday, former Gophers player and Hopkins High School standout Royce White was named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year as well as to the all-conference first team. White finished the regular season leading the Cyclones in scoring (12.9 per game), rebounding (9.2), assists (5.2), steals (1.2) and blocks (1.0), the only player in the nation to lead his team in all five of those categories. Also, former Timberwolves player and executive Fred Hoiberg was named co-Big 12 Coach of the Year, along with Kansas' Bill Self. Hoiberg took Iowa State from three conference victories in 2011 to 12 in 2012, the greatest single-season turnaround in Big 12 history.

• Louie and Tyler Nanne, grandchildren of Lou Nanne, combined for five goals and eight assists in three Class 2A boys' hockey section playoff games to help lead Edina to the state tournament, where the Hornets will face Benilde-St. Margaret's on Thursday. BSM won its section final by beating Minnetonka, a team that features another Nanne grandchild in Vinni Lettieri.

• Lakeview Christian Academy scoring machine Anders Broman hasn't slowed down much after scoring 71 points vs. Melrose on Feb. 25. The junior guard had 44 points at Ely on Tuesday and 49 at Silver Bay on Thursday and averages 45.4 points per game this season.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. • shartman@startribune.com

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