Vikings may sweeten stadium deal; roof back in picture

Arden Hills stadium
A rendering of a proposed stadium for the Minnesota Vikings in Arden Hills. The team and Ramsey County announced a deal Tuesday to finance and build the stadium.
Courtesy of the Minnesota Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings say the team may kick in more money to close a stadium deal than the $407 million initially pledged.

The team has been haggling with the state and Ramsey County over contributions to a new $1.1 billion stadium in Arden Hills. The county has offered a one-half percent sales tax, hoping to split the cost with the state and the team ahead of an expected move out of the Metrodome by 2015. The state and county have pledged $650 million, but that's fallen short of what the project is expected to cost.

Now, team vice president Lester Bagley says the team may be willing to sweeten the pot to achieve a deal.

"It's possible that the ownership contribution could go up, but all things are connected," he said. "There's a couple of other open issues that are all part of the package and all part of the negotiation, like the operational control of the facility and things like that. Those are big issues to everybody."

Bagley said another matter open for negotiation includes whether to make the roof retractable. The team wants to be able to open up the stadium to accommodate a major league soccer franchise, but a fixed roof, which would be less expensive, "would cost us the opportunity to bring in an MLS team."

And the clock is ticking. "We've got to get the project done, we've got to bring the costs down, we've got to get a package done together and get in front of the legislature," he said.

News that the team might consider upping its contribution follows a Ramsey County Charter Commission meeting Wednesday night in which members put off new restrictions on local funding through taxes or bonding, and called for two hearings for the public to weigh in on the proposed sales tax to build the stadium.

The board also proposed a charter amendment that would ban sales taxes and bonding for major league baseball and NFL teams and facilities.

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