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Are the Vikings ‘nickel and diming’ the state on the new stadium?

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The VIkings owners also own the parking lot where dirt from the stadium project is being stored (under the white plastic tarp at center). Stadium builders leased the space through September to save the expense of trucking the dirt away and back. (EarthCam photo)

The Star Tribune's Mike Kaszuba has a story today about the tax bill the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority agreed to pick up for a parcel of real estate owned by the Vikings owners, currently being used to store extra dirt for the stadium project.

It amounts to $90,000. It's a deal that MSFA executive director explained in public at the authority's meeting in December. Mondale said it would result in "substantial savings" in disposal and transportation costs to essentially rent the parking lots from the Wilf family to store the dirt.

You can listen to the Dec. 13 public discussion of the lease between Mondale and the MSFA's attorney, Jay Lindgren, here:

Now, the Strib quotes state Sen. David Osmek, R-Mound, saying it seemed like the Vikings were "nickel and diming" the state on the stadium.

The story also notes the Vikings agreed to contribute $477 million to the initial stadium cost.

The deal has changed considerably since then. Last November, the team agreed to put in as much as $26.4 million above and beyond the $477 million they were required to contribute by state law.

They also agreed in November to forgo an additional $15 million that they'd been promised by the MSFA to make up for the revenue gap between the Metrodome and TCF Bank Stadium for the 2014 and 2015 seasons. That money is being shifted from the Vikings directly to the stadium construction instead.

And earlier this month, they put an additional $1.2 million into construction -- just as infrastructure to support a larger-than-planned video board that the team says will require yet more money from the Vikings.

That's also a sign, although the Vikings won't confirm it, that the contingency money they agreed to put up in November is probably already spent. That likely makes the Vikings additional out-of-pocket cost nearly $41 million over the initial $477 million, and the total project cost just under $1.001 billion so far.