Vikings fans rally for new stadium

Vikings fans rally at MOA
Enthusiastic fans of the Minnesota Vikings showed their support during a rally at the Mall of America for a new publicly-funded stadium in downtown Minneapolis. (MPR Photo/Tim Nelson)
TIm Nelson

Hundreds of Vikings fans rallied at the Mall of America this afternoon, as the team tried to bolster its case for a new, publicly funded stadium to replace the Metrodome.

The team brought one of its most popular players, defensive end Jared Allen, to speak to the crowd.

Allen flew in from Arizona to tell the crowd that the team needs a new home, and urged them to contact their legislators. "I say you guys are the best fans in Minnesota ... Let's be at the Capitol on Monday. Let's push this thing through, let's get a stadium," Allen said.

Daneen Kiger brought her son Colby to the rally. She said she had talked with her local lawmaker about the issue. "I don't want to lose this team. I have been cheering for them since I was five years old," Kiger said.

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Stadium opponents could be found as well.

Rebecca Scharr was shopping at the mall and stopped by the rally. She doesn't think the team deserves a new stadium. "I think they could fund it themselves. I mean, they make a lot of money. I don't think it should come from the taxpayers. Not at all. I think there's more important things that money could be going for," she said.

Lawmakers are considering a plan that would pay $550 million in public subsidies for a nearly $1 billion stadium in downtown Minneapolis.

The plan for a new stadium is scheduled to be put to a vote in the House of Representatives on Monday.

After the rally, stadium Governor Mark Dayton said he was hopeful, but didn't know yet whether House lawmakers would approve the bill.

On Sunday, former Vikings running back Chuck Foreman will join Gov. Dayton to speak at a pro-stadium union gathering in Minneapolis.