The Vikings invited local media for a tour of the construction site of their new downtown stadium and the stadium preview center today. The team has taken free agents on similar tours, too.

While a glimpse at the new stadium site wasn’t enough to convince defensive end Michael Johnson, the most notable free agent to visit, to sign with the Vikings, owner and team president Mark Wilf said he feels the prospect of the new stadium can be used as a potential recruiting tool.

“I think it makes a difference with the players,” Wilf said. “They’re starting to see what’s coming here. And a lot of great things are happening on the field with the coach and the team and I think that this building is part of something exciting that we’re building. It certainly helps. It certainly helps.”

This time a year ago, construction crews were finishing the demolition of the Metrodome.

Today, the Vikings and stadium officials said that construction of the new stadium is 50 percent complete, with more than $400 million of project funding having been put to use. The construction remains on track for the new stadium to be built and ready to go in time for the 2016 preseason.

And the Vikings can’t wait to show the world, including future free agents, the finished product.

“It’s a building that all Minnesotans and all Vikings fans are going to be super proud of. It’s a great building,” Wilf said. “I think it’s going to be a building that’s really going to wow the American sports public and the world. It’s a venue we’re really proud of.”

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