The Vikings will play two seasons at TCF Bank Stadium, and as part of their agreement with the University of Minnesota, the Vikings agreed to donate $250,000 to find ways to help the impact of gameday crowds on the neighborhoods around the stadium.
People who live around the stadium and many of the businesses around campus aren’t necessarily happy with the decision to allow the team to play there while their new stadium is built at the site of the Metrodome.
Lester Bagley, Vikings vice president of stadium development and public affairs, said he believes the “Good Neighbor Fund” will keep relations between the community and the team smooth.
“Over the last year or so we worked to establish a ‘Good Neighbor Fund’ and agreed on an amount,” Bagley said. “The Vikings will contribute $125,000 each year for 2014 and 2015. That $125,000 will be about $90,000 in cash and $30,000 in in-kind contributions. … There’s a process to establish grants to various groups that come forward and identify issues that should be addressed.
“The plan is to try to help leave the university in better shape than we found it after our games. So [we’re] trying to be good neighbors and trying to find a way to address issues that could come up related to our two seasons at the stadium.”
“Between the neighbors, the university and the Vikings, we will sort out the most deserving proposals and provide grants to those groups.
“One student group came forward with a proposal to increase the lighting [around the stadium], given some of the public safety issues and concerns that have been raised over at the university, and some of the media attention about those issues.
“So there’s a proposal to increase the lighting, put some more lighting in key areas in the evenings. That’s a good example of a program that we think deserves strong consideration.”
You can rest assured that the Vikings will make sure that all concerns are taken care of when it comes to pre- and postgame issues around the stadium.
Big star in Sochi
Wild center Mikael Granlund continued his strong performance for Finland in a 3-1 win that knocked out host country Russia on Wednesday in the quarterfinals of the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Granlund has scored three goals in four games for the Finns, who are missing injured Wild captain Mikko Koivu.
While Finland plays Sweden in one semifinal Friday, the U.S. will face Canada in the other.
It’s interesting that the small northern Minnesota town of Warroad has supplied seven players — T.J. Oshie this year, Gordon Christian (1956), Dan MacKinnon (1956), Roger Christian (1960), Billy Christian (1960), Bill’s son David Christian (1980) and the great Henry Boucha (1972) — to U.S. Olympic men’s teams.
And of course Warroad’s Gigi Marvin is one of the big stars on the U.S. women’s team, which plays Canada for the gold medal today.
• Stan Parrish, who coached Tom Brady at Michigan and is well-known as an outstanding offensive coach, is working with the Gophers offensive coaching staff for two days.
• Gophers football coach Jerry Kill has made a change in how spring practice will be staged. He will have two weeks starting on March 4, then two weeks after the spring break.