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Dayton to Vikings: Drop dead

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There has been some testy correspondence in the stadium debate in the last two years, but nothing, NOTHING like the letter released by Gov. Mark Dayton this morning, blasting the Vikings for even considering a personal seat license sale.

The relevant passage from Dayton:

Now comes word that the team is considering requiring some season ticket holders to pay for part of the "NFL Team/Private Contribution" for construction costs. I strong oppose shifting any part of the team's responsibility for those costs onto Minnesota Vikings fans. This Private Contribution is your responsibility, not theirs. I said this new stadium would be a "People's Stadium," not a "Rich People's Stadium." I meant it then, and I mean it now.

The project's strong support came from many regular Minnesotans, not just rich Minnesotans, because they believed the Vikings are also their team. If a new stadium were to betray that trust, it would be better that it not be built.

It's hard to tease apart what happened here. Personal seat licenses, called "stadium builder licenses," figured prominently in pretty much the entire stadium debate. Ramsey County made accommodations to sell $125 million of them. MPR did a Morning Edition story about them that prompted an exacting discussion in the Senate Tax Committee -- a discussion that Dayton's stadium negotiator Ted Mondale sat through and which the Vikings said the NFL average for teams like theirs was $50 million per stadium. And the PSLs are laid out in black and white in the very legislation that Dayton signed in May.

The governor is also threatening to drag the whole mess back into the legislature -- he says he may ask the new DFL-controlled House and Senate to rescind the authorization to sell the licenses in law. It's hard to see how the Vikings, after being dinged for an extra $50 million to put their contribution to $477 million in the final day of talks, would suddenly agree to cover the PSL revenue, particularly with the funding for a retractable roof already excised from the stadium deal.

MPR's Tim Pugmire has a story about the flap here.


Is this the path back to square one? Judge for yourself: