PHOENIX – The Vikings received big news on the financial front at the NFL’s annual meeting on Monday, gaining approval for the league’s G4 financing program, a plan that enables franchises building new stadiums to receive what is essentially a fully guaranteed loan from the league.
The Vikings, who are in line to be contributing $477 million toward their new stadium, expect to receive the maximum allotted $200 million worth of G4 financing from the NFL.
That amount will ultimately be repaid over 15 years.
Vikings owner Mark Wilf called the financing approval “a major step forward for the [stadium] project” and lauded the efforts of team CFO Steve Poppen.
“This is a statement of support from the NFL and the other owners that this is a project that they believe in,” Wilf said. “And they want to put their financial wherewithal behind it.”
Super Bowl on way?
With the stadium plans moving forward, the Vikings also have submitted an application with the NFL to be hosts of the Super Bowl after the 2017, ’18 or ’19 seasons.
At present, the Vikings are scheduled to move into their new downtown stadium for the 2016 season. That would give them two full seasons before they could play host to the Super Bowl at the earliest in February 2018.
The Vikings made it no secret that their offseason roster priorities included upgrading the talent at receiver while also finding a veteran back-up quarterback.
So in addressing both needs late last week with the signings of Greg Jennings and Matt Cassel, the team made quarterback Christian Ponder a little happier.
Ponder spoke with Jennings via phone Thursday after the receiver had arrived in the Twin Cities for his visit. The quarterback also later heard the public comments Jennings made, noting how he studied Vikings’ game film on Ponder to “see what I was getting into.”
“It’s always a positive thing to see. He watched me on film and then he signed,” Ponder said during a chat with reporters at the Arizona Biltmore. “So that’s definitely good. And that’s always important. … He knew to look at what he’s coming into with the offense and with his quarterback. I think that shows his maturity and his intelligence.”
Another set of eyes
Ponder also said he looks forward to working with Cassel, who has been accepting of the No. 2 role the Vikings offered. But Ponder understands Cassel will provide a competitive push and is also looking forward to picking his brain behind the scenes.
“Obviously, he’ll probably know more than I do on certain things and has a different [vantage point] in watching film,” Ponder said. “I think that’s always good to learn, how guys watch film and what they can see and can pick up on.”