With the help of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, Minnesota legislative leaders revived a proposal for the Vikings to build a new stadium.
A Senate committee voted 8-6 to move forward with a plan for about $975 million stadium in the downtown section of Minneapolis. The vote came only hours after Goodell visited the state Capitol. The commissioner was in attendance with Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney II.
"We think it was a very productive session today," Goodell said. "Obviously, I think our presence here is a signal how important it is to the National Football League that the Minnesota Vikings continue to be here in this community and be successful. We believe that after many, many years the time has come to pass legislation, to move forward."
The plans for a stadium in Minneapolis face several hurdles in Minnesota's legislative session. The Vikings would contribute $427 million toward the up- front costs, while the city of Minneapolis would commit $150 million and the state of Minnesota would fund $398 million. The city's part would come from redirecting a portion of existing convention center taxes, while the state would expand charitable gaming to pay its portion.
The "People's Stadium," as it is being called, would sit on the current site of the Metrodome, would be publicly owned and would keep the Vikings in the city for the next 30 years.
At a projected cost of $975 million, the fixed-roof building would be financed without additional taxes for the citizens of Minnesota.
"We cannot afford to have this decision delayed another year or pushed off. The time has come for Minnesota to make a decision, for the legislature to make a decision," state representative Morrie Lanning (R) said. "We're committed to helping get it done."
The Vikings played in Metropolitan Stadium from their 1961 inception through the end of the 1981 season. The club has called the Metrodome home since 1982. They continue to play there even though the lease is expired.
Concerns over the feasibility of a new stadium intensified when the Vikings were forced out of the Metrodome due to a snowstorm in December of 2010, which caused the roof to tear and deflate.
The Vikings are set to play in the Metrodome next year, even if construction on a new building starts, and would likely play just one season in TCF Bank Stadium on the campus of the University of Minnesota.