A sneak peek at the new stadium?

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Here's what looks to be a preview of the contenders to design the new Vikings stadium in downtown Minneapolis. One of the team working to select the architectural firm left these in his back seat -- clearly visible in the Metrodome parking lot before the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority meeting on Friday.

The HNTB rendering is visible in the foreground, and pretty clearly features a retractable roof AND what looks like a retractable wall. That's probably going to face downtown Minneapolis, given the way the afternoon light seems to be shown in this rendering.

More obscure in the background are pitches from HKS and from Ewing Cole. Neither of them seem to have any cover shots of their ideas. There is ANOTHER packet in the pile, and some line drawings at the bottom. Those could be supplemental materials, or perhaps another bidder. No sign of Populous or AECOM here.




So what does this mean? Vikings vice president Lester Bagley suggested earlier this month that the architects may get shortlisted. Are these them? Or the leftovers? And more importantly, can Minnesota and the Vikings afford any of them? Are we looking at the Lexus or the Corolla here?